Decadent, rich, creamy cheesecake is even better with luscious cherry topping. The cake must be made at least three hours ahead, but can be made up to five days in advance—which makes it ideal do-ahead fare for your holiday fete.
- 10 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
- 24 ounces Neufchatel cheese
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen red tart cherries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor or blender, process the graham crackers to fine crumbs; transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar until well combined. Add the butter and mix until the crumbs just hold together when pressed. Press into the bottom and 2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sour cream and Neufchatel cheese; beat until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat until smooth. Add the flour and mix briefly until combined. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; bake in the center of the oven 1 hour and 5 minutes or until the cheesecake is almost set. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven another hour. Cover and chill 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine the cherries, sugar, water, and almond extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Stir in cornstarch that has been dissolved in 2 tablespoons water; return to a boil and cook until thickened, 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and chill 2 hours. Spread cherry mixture over top of cheesecake before slicing.