Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake

To die for. Seriously.

A perfect, New York-style cheesecake with a layer of cherry pie filling in the middle – and then topped off with a generous layer of chocolate ganache.

This was my contribution to Thanksgiving dessert and it was very, very well received.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake
(from Pillsbury Holiday Baking, November 2006)

Crust:
2 c. chocolate cookie crumbs
3 T. butter, melted

Filling:
4 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 can cherry pie filling

Glaze:
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325F degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients; mix well. Press in bottom and 1 inch up the sides of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1/2 c. whipping cream; blend well.

Spoon 3 1/2 c. cream cheese mixture into crust-lined pan, spreading evenly. Carefully spoon 1 c. pie filling evenly over the cream cheese layer (reserve remaining pie filling for topping). Spoon remaining cream cheese mixture evenly over pie filling.

Bake 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 1 hour.

In a 1 quart saucepan, heat 1/2 c. whipping cream to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on paper-lined cookie sheet. Spread glaze over cooled cheesecake, allowing some to flow dow the side. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve topped with remaining pie filling.

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