Last May my family and I went cherry picking. We had a fabulous time and came home with some delicious cherries, many of which I baked into cherry pies. Since we’re nearing the end of June and have yet to make the trip to the orchard, I don’t think cherry picking is something we’ll be able to do this year. We were still craving a cherry dessert, though, and this cheesecake tart recipe had been sitting in my cookbook holder for weeks. Brad requested this for dessert on Father’s Day and so I of course had to bake it for him.
This tart has a buttery chocolate graham cracker crust and a cool, creamy cheesecake filling with little drops of cherry sauce swirled on top. I was a little disappointed with the amount of cherry flavor in the tart, but that was probably my fault. I was trying to go for a pretty presentation, so I only used about half of the cherry sauce that the recipe made. Next time, I think I’ll use more of the sauce and just swirl it into the top of the cheesecake batter, rather than trying to make the heart design.
While I was somewhat disappointed by the amount of cherry flavor, I loved this tart as a whole. The crust was delicious, and the cheesecake filling is one of the best I’ve had. I’ll surely be going back to this recipe again and again. I think it would be wonderful with some blueberries scattered over the top before baking, or with fresh strawberries or raspberries placed on top after baking.
Chocolate-Cherry Cheesecake Tart
Makes 8-10 servings
- 6 oz. (1 1/3 cups) chocolate wafers, finely crushed- I used chocolate graham crackers
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 oz. (5 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup pitted fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pureed
- 3 Tbsp. cherry preserves
- 1 Tbsp. kirsch (I omitted this)
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz. sour cream (1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp.), at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.
- In a small bowl, mix the crushed cookies with 2 Tbsp. of the sugar. Add the melted butter and toss with your fingers until evenly moistened. Transfer the crumbs to a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. With your fingers, gently pack the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides to form the crust. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325.
- Meanwhile, in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the cherry puree to a simmer. Whisk in the cherry preserves and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and remaining 1/3 cup sugar on medium-low speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, flour, vanilla, and salt and beat until well combined, about 1 minute more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined, about 15 seconds for each egg (do not overbeat).
- Pour the batter into the crust and distribute evenly. Dot the batter with the cherry mixture and gently drag a butter knife through the filling to form decorative swirls. (I found it worked best when I had the flat, non-serrated side of the knife pointed toward me and I dragged the knife through a cherry dot towards me, starting a little bit above the dot. Next time, I might try using a toothpick instead of a knife.)
- Bake until the tart is just set but still slightly moist in the center, 18 to 24 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve cold. The tart may be made up to 1 day ahead.
Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking, May 2011