Chocolate and Cherry Layered Cheesecake

Summer-time is wonderful. Because, you’ll find an abundance of plump, red cherries everywhere. And that has resulted in me eating them up, in just about anything – ice creams, tarts, and this chocolate cherry cheesecake. The addition of ricotta ensures that the cheesecake remains light – balancing it perfectly with the richness from the chocolate ganache. Sour, red cherries bring with them the needed tartness. And the heavenly combination of layered cherries and chocolate makes this dessert an absolute show-stopper.

Notes:
*This recipe makes enough for one 6-inch cake.
*Ricotta has a lot of water content and must be drained for up to 5-6 hours before using. Place inside a muslin cloth and drain over a bowl. Squeeze to drain excess moisture. 
*The water-bath ensures that the cheesecake doesn’t over-bake or crack. Be sure to wrap the pan you’re baking your cheesecake in with 2-3 layers of foil so the water doesn’t seep in.
*Do not rush the cooling process. Make sure all elements of the cake are completely cool before layering. Otherwise you will not get clean layers and they will melt into each other.
*The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  1.  70 g digestive biscuit, processed into crumbs
  2.  30 g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  1.  112 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  2.  270 g ricotta cheese, drained and at room temperature
  3.  100 g granulated sugar
  4.  2 eggs , at room temperature
  5.  3/4 tablespoon cornstarch
  6.  1 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cherry compote:

  1. 1/2 cup cherries (measured after pitting)
  2.  20 granulated sugar
  3.  1 teaspoon cornstarch
  4.  2 teaspoons lemon juice

For the chocolate ganache:

  1. 100 g dark chocolate (65% cocoa or higher)
  2. 100 g heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper and wrap the sides and bottom (from the outside) with aluminium foil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the biscuit crumbs and melted butter. Mix until combined. Transfer to the bottom of the cake pan and press down until you have an even layer. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and beat using an electric whisk until light and smooth.
  4. Add in the sugar and ricotta. Mix until everything is smooth. Finally add in the eggs, cornstarch and vanilla and mix. Pour the batter over the cooled crust and smooth the top.
  5. Place pan inside a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water in the larger pan so that it comes up halfway to the sides of the cheesecake. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The sides will be set and centre slightly wobbly. Let cheesecake cool completely in pan and then cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours).
  6. To make the cherry compote, add all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the cherries break down and the juices start to thicken up. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache, add the chopped chocolate to a mixing bowl. Heat the cream over a low flame, do not boil. Then pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Leave the ganache to cool down completely.
  8. Once all elements have cooled down, take the cheesecake out of the fridge. Spread the cherry compote on top, leaving a slight border along the edge of the cheesecake. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Then, pour the ganache on top. Tap the pan on the kitchen counter to get a smooth top.
  9. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Decorate with fresh cherries (optional).
  10. To demold, run a sharp knife under hot water, clean with a kitchen towel and then run it along the sides of the pan. Use the same method to cut out clean slices.