Cherries make one Merry Christmas!

Freshly Pitted Cherries

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I am seriously stuffed full of the most amazing food! It is crazy to think of the amount of effort that goes into making a few days completely magic but it is always worth it. Ah, the joys of Christmas! This year I have been lucky enough to spend the holidays with a group of fabulous people, truly incredible souls who I am blessed to call my family. This year is special for a lot of different reasons and I have treasured every moment.

Cherries

Back to the food though! Time got away from me this year so unfortunately I didn’t get to spend much time in the kitchen in the lead up and I’m not going to lie, I was really disappointed. I absolutely love festive cooking! Not that it was ever going to be an issue given the number of wonderful cooks in my family, we had so much food and it was all totally delicious. However, my mother always taught me it is bad manners to turn up with nothing so here is a little something I pulled together on Christmas Eve – cherry cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit base.

Cherries

Between the heat and a whisper of a hangover, I wasn’t quite sure they’d turn out, particularly when they emerged from the oven as the ugliest cheesecakes I’ve ever seen, but according to the critics they worked a treat (thank god for baking cover up – whipped cream, dark chocolate flakes and fresh cherries!). Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!

Cherries

Cherry cheesecakes (makes 12 individual cakes)

  • 325gm chocolate biscuits, finely crushed
  • 125gm butter, melted
  • 500gm cream cheese, softened
  • 250gm mascarpone
  • 180gm white chocolate, melted
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 600gm cherries, pitted, plus an additional 12 (steams on) to decorate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 200gm dark chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and grease a 12-hole loose bottom cake tin. Alternatively you can use a large muffin tin in which case you will need to line it with baking paper.
  2. Place about half of the cherries, a quarter of a cup of water and half a cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until soft and juicy.
  3. Combine the finely crushed biscuits and butter and mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 and press down firmly into each of the holes. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, white chocolate and eggs and beat until completely smooth. Add the stewed cherries and about 180gm of the dark chocolate and stir through.
  5. Fill each hole about one third of the way and top with some of the remaining pitted cherries. Fill until two thirds full and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Check at about the half way mark and if the tops are browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil.
  6. Leave to cool completely before decorating with whipped cream, dark chocolate flakes and a single cherry.
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