2 sleeves chocolate graham crackers, 18 crackers (2 1/4 cups crumbs)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 stick butter, melted (8 Tbsp.)
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (ghiaradelli chocolate chips 60% cacao work well)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 lb. cream cheese, softened (I used the Neufchâtel, 1/3 less fat)
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 325°. For the crust, process graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until fine. Drizzle in melted butter and process until combined. Spray 9 inch springform pan with non-stick spray, and press crumbs into bottom and sides. Bake crust 10 minutes; set aside.
For the cheesecake, melt chocolate with 2 Tbsp. butter and espresso powder in a double boiler; set aside to cool slightly.
Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. (if using the same mixer and bowl to whip cream to fold in, you may want to whip cream first and chill in another bowl until you are ready to fold into chocolate mixture.) Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add melted chocolate mixture to batter and beat until combined.
Fold whipped cream and vanilla into batter, then pour into crust; bake until edges are set but center is still jiggly, 40-45 minutes. Turn oven off; leave cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes.
Remove cheesecake from oven. Cool completely, and cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cherry Sauce with Moscato d'Asti
makes about 2 cups
1 lb. frozen tart cherries
1 1/4 cup Moscato d'Asti
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. cherry juice or water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
Heat cherries, wine, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes.
Whisk cherry juice into cornstarch in a small bowl, then whisk into cherry mixture. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 2 minutes. Stir in almond extract. Serve sauce over chocolate cheesecake.