posted by Emma 11-29-100 11:23 PM
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 (1-pound) bag frozen pitted Bing cherries, thawed, drained, juice reserved
1/2 cup cherry jam
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Make topping: Combine dried cherries and reserved juice from thawed cherries in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Cover; let steep 20 minutes.
Mix cherry jam, brandy and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Stir into dried cherry mixture. Add thawed cherries. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Cool slightly; chill until cold.
Make crust: Finely grind almonds in processor. Add cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Process until clumps form. Press mixture onto bottom (not sides) of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Chill 30 minutes.
Make filling: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Blend all ingredients except sliced almonds in processor just until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl several times. Transfer filling to crust. Bake until edges of cheesecake are puffed and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Chill cake uncovered overnight.
Release pan sides from cake. Transfer cake to platter. Spoon topping evenly over cake, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Garnish cake with sliced almonds.
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