As part of the amazing box of goodness I received from Marovato Italian Imports last month, were a few packages of these Almond Cake Cookies. I love their buttery taste and texture and the hint of almond flavor. I debated throwing them into a batch of almond ice cream, but decided to use them as the crust for a cherry cheesecake instead. The combination of almond and cherry is hard to beat in my opinion and a layer of chocolate ganache over the top definitely helps these bars stand out.
I have so enjoyed getting to try the different goodies that were sent to me by Marovato Italian Imports. As I mentioned in my post about their orecchiette pasta, all of their food is imported directly from Italy. The family-owned company was started by Tony who grew up in the Puglia region of Italy and moved to the US when he was 18. When he realized how difficult it was to find authentic Italian food here in the States he decided to start the import business! For many years they sold primarily to restaurants and in bulk sales, but now they’ve opened up their website for direct sales to consumers too. Being able to order specialty ingredients online is super convenient and it lets me get my hands on products I wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. They’re having a great sale on their baked good items right now, this is a perfect time to check them out!
A bit of a disclaimer- I’m usually all about making stuff from scratch, but the heat and humidity in my house were reaching slightly unbearable levels this weekend so I took a shortcut and used canned cherry pie filling. While I was definitely looking forward to some cool, creamy cheesecake, having to turn on the stove to make cherry pie filling seemed like too much!
- 1½ cups Almond Cake Cookies (or other almond shortbread type cookie), crushed
- 5 tbl. butter, melted
- Cream Cheese Filling
- 16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
- Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed cookies and melted butter. Press into the prepared pan and bake for about 8 minutes or until the crust is very light brown around the edges. Set aside.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust. Top with the cherry pie filling and use a knife to gently swirl the filling into the cheesecake. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the cake is set around the edges and just slightly jiggly in the center. Turn off the oven and crack the door to allow the cheesecake to cool down slowly. After about 30 minutes, transfer the cheesecake to the counter to finish cooling.
- Once cool, prepare your ganache by melting the dark chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in the top of a double boiler. Stir to combine, then spread evenly over the cheesecake. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.
Adapted from The Baker Chick