A good cheesecake is hard to find and even harder to make.
At least, that’s what I thought before I started experimenting with techniques and flavors. It turns out, making cheesecake is easy… but very time consuming (call it a practice in patience) if you want to do it right.
My Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake might seem intimidating, but it’s more simple than you might think, and the flavor combination is a real showstopper.
This flavor combo is a natural one — amaretto is an almond-flavored Italian liquor that I LOVE baking with. It has a slightly fruity taste already, so pairing it with cherry really brings out a smooth nutty and slightly sweet flavor. I also use lemon zest, which makes these flavors really pop. In addition to the flavor, the texture of this cheesecake is so velvety and smooth without being too dense. This cheesecake is a truly decadent labor of love, and to help you get it just right, I have included some tips to keep in mind as you bake.
Tips for the perfect Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake:
- Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. I know I said that this is a long process, and that begins with bringing the cream cheese to room temp. Don’t get impatient and microwave it or begin mixing while the blocks are still chilled. Waiting for the cream cheese to reach room temperature will ensure smoother blending, which means no cream cheese lumps and a velvety-smooth finished cheesecake.
- Allow the graham cracker crust to cool before pouring in the cheesecake mix. If you want, toss it in the fridge or freezer to cool it quicker, but make sure it’s cool! If you pour the mixture in while it’s still warm, you might get a soggy crust.
- Work quickly with frozen cherries. I use Trader Joe’s frozen cherries when I make this recipe, and I don’t let them thaw. Cherries are such a soft fruit that they’re easy to chop when frozen. I work with frozen fruit so that the juices don’t leak out. Working with them quickly and coating them in cornstarch means that each bite of cherry will be exploding with juice and flavor, but the juices won’t run all over the cheesecake, making it pink or runny.
- Wrap your springform pan in foil and make a water bath. The perfect cheesecake is going to have a lightly browned top and no cracks. NO. CRACKS. This is hard to achieve unless you know two little secrets. The first secret is to wrap the pan in a few layers of aluminum foil. make sure it is completely sealed because the next step is to place it in a water bath, and you don’t want water seeping in and ruining your cheesecake. To make the water bath, place the springform on a larger pan with about an inch of water. It doesn’t take much, you just want to create steam with the cheesecake bakes so that it won’t dry out and crack on the top or create a thicker top layer. I usually wrap the pan after I’ve made the crust.
- Cool your cheesecake in the oven. The second secret to a smooth top is to let the cheesecake cool a little bit in the oven before removing it and letting it cool on the counter. To do this, when the cheesecake is done baking, turn the oven off and crack the door open so the heat escapes. After about a half an hour, remove the cheesecake and place it on the counter to cool completely. Do not place it in the refrigerator until it is completely cool! Think hot water of a cold windshield… it will crack, right? The same thing applies to cheesecake… just let it hang out on the counter and cool down before placing it in the fridge. Pro tip: it will cool faster if it can cool from all sides. Place it on a raised cooling rack to speed up this process. When the bottom is cool, go ahead a refrigerate.
- Give it a jiggle to check for doneness. A done cheesecake will be browned on the top and have a little jiggle to it. Carefully move the pan (remember, it’s got hot water in it!) to test this. If there’s a wave across the cheesecake, it isn’t done. If it seems firm but jiggles in the middle, you’re ready to start cooling it.
- Completely mix the cornstarch and amaretto. When you make the topping, make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved in the amaretto before adding it to the pot. Pouring the cornstarch in on its own may mean clumps.
Whew! That’s a lot of information, but I promise that if you follow these tips, your cheesecake will turn out wonderfully. And I want to see them! Make sure you tag me on Instagram (@bokmarksandbreadcrumbs) in your beautiful cheesecakes! If you have any questions, drop a comment below, or DM me on IG. And remember… with this recipe, patience makes perfect *cheesecake*! ☺️