Oh gosh, you guys. I really don't even know where to begin with this one. I think this is one of those situations in which the photo just speaks for itself, but I'll try to compose myself enough to write some words, too.
I didn't eat a lot of cherries growing up, other than the maraschino variety on the top of my ice cream sundaes or the chocolate-covered version in boxes of assorted chocolates (which I still have an intense dislike for to this day). And then I started dating Joe, who introduced me to the Wonderful World of Fresh Cherries. Joe could easily put away a pound of them in one sitting. He's passed his love for cherries on to me, and more recently, to our sons, who can both pound cherries like a boss. As soon as cherry season begins, we're bound to have at least two pounds of them in our refrigerator at all times.
I knew I wanted to bake with cherries before the season ended, and there was no shortage of recipes that sounded absolutely amazing, but when I saw this cheesecake I knew that it was The One. We were blown away by this cheesecake, and it's probably one of the best cheesecakes I've ever made. As if the brownie base isn't enough, it's topped with sweet roasted cherries, and then with cheesecake whipped cream. Yum, yum, and yum! It's sweet without being too sweet, and it's such an elegant, gorgeous dessert -- the perfect way to use summer's cherry bounty.
Roasted Cherry Brownie Cheesecake
adapted from Beantown Baker
For the roasted cherries:
1 1/2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/4 cup sugar
For the brownie layer:
1 box brownie mix
Water, oil and eggs called for on the box
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the cheesecake:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the cheesecake whipped cream:
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the garnish:
1. To make the roasted cherries, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place pitted, chopped cherries in a small casserole dish or cake pan. Top with sugar and stir. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare the brownie batter and stir in chocolate chips. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray. Spread the batter into the pan and back for about 14 minutes, or until the brownies are just set but not completely cooked through.
3. While the brownies are baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla on low speed and set the mixture aside.
4. Carefully spoon 1 cup of the roasted cherries into the center of brownie, leaving a 2-inch brownie border along sides of pan. Place remaining roasted cherries in a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Gently scoop the cream cheese mixture over surface; carefully spread to edges of pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set, but jiggles when the pan is lightly tapped. Leaving the cheesecake in the oven, turn off oven and crack oven door. Allow to come to room temperature. This will take about an hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
6. To make the cheesecake whipped cream, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup whipping cream until smooth. Add the rest of the cream and beat until it has the consistency of whipped cream (don’t overmix).
7. To serve, slice a piece of cheesecake and top with a spoonful or two of the reserved roasted cherries. Finish with a dollop of the whipped cream and a fresh whole cherry.