Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake

Things were very hectic today. You know one of those days were one thing starts everything else rolling and spiraling almost out of control . And I say almost because you are always right on the edge,thinking you may fall off or maybe even leap off just to get away from the craziness. But then you look up and the day is over and you are looking into the eyes of someone who loves you, who can make the world calm again for you and make you realize what life is really all about. And a day of craziness turns into a sweet little night,watching my favorite,Anthony Bourdain, in Provence. Not just Provence,but Saint Remy-my perfect place. It's the place I go to when I need to center myself and calm myself. Just closing my eyes I can see the blue skies and the bright sun and smell the olives and lavender. Then in my mind I see the produce,the beautiful melons, the juiciest reddest tomatoes I have ever seen with a taste that I will never forget. The saltiness of the olives, the smell of the fresh herbs, the creamy tartness of the cheese..yes it's my part of the world I hold in heart always....

And now it's time for dessert....if only I had a bagful of cerise de Provence...cherries...I have always loved cherries. Growing up we had one of the most beautiful cherry trees in our backyard. Every spring it was so full of blossoms and bees-incredible. And we would watch the little green cherries grow and turn red and darken to a deep dark red. Then we would try and pick the most perfectly formed ones before the robins devoured them. That sweet taste,the dark stain on our fingers,the red cherry juice on our lips,those were wonderful times picking those cherries. In honor of that wonderful cherry tree I give you today's dessert for my Chocoholic Friday. Triple C- Cherries,Chocolate and Cheesecake-a perfect food for the end of the day. Something that reminds me of the beauty of Provence and the sweetness of youth.

Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
Bon App├ętit October 2006
by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

Yield: Makes 24 small cupcake size servings
Crust24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup blanched almonds finely chopped

1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
4 large eggs

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 13oz jar of Chukar Cherries Raspberry Cherry Preserve & Topping

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake lines. Blend cookies and almonds in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of cupcake lines. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling:
Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. This filling is very thick, I used an ice cream scoop and placed a scoop of filling into each cupcake liner. I used the scoop to flatten out the filling,it came to just about 1/4 inch of the top of the liner. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 15-18minutes. Cool 15-30 minutes. Then chill overnight.
For topping:
Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Take a teaspoon of the Chukar Cherries preserve and place on top of the cheesecake in the center. Pour the chocolate ganache carefully around the preserves so that you don't cover the cherries. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.


Chef Dennis said...

these look positively decadent!! my girls love cupcakes, I know they would love these as well!

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

They are absolutely decadent and should come with a warning notice that eating one of them will probably exceed your weekly chocolate limit -although you can never really have too much chocolate !

Cinnamon-Girl said...

These are just heavenly! What an irresistible combination! Gorgeous pictures too.

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Thanks very much !