For the fire-roasted cherry compote, preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and de-stem the cherries. Place in a large baking dish and toss in 1/3 cup sugar. (Alternatively, you can grill these over a barbecue set from medium-high to high around the same temperature as the oven. Cover the grill and check occasionally on the batch of cherries.) Roast the cherries for approximately one hour, or until significant juice has seeped and cherries are tender and wilted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Set the oven to bake at 350°F.
After cherries have cooled, remove the pits from the roasted cherries, preserving them in a seal-able jar or plastic container with a lid. Place the pitted cherries in a food processor adding any remaining cherry juice from the baking pan. Squeeze juice from one half lemon and gently pulse the food processor or blender for 2-3 seconds or until the cherries are somewhat chopped and blended (being careful not to overly process the pulp to the consistency of a purée.)
To the container with your roasted cherry pits, add 2 cups heavy whipping cream, seal, and let cold steep in the refrigerator overnight.
In Cheesecake We Crust
In a food processor (or, if you need some therapy like me, a thick freezer bag and some clenched fists) crush your graham crackers to a dust. NOTE: This creates a rather thick crust, if you prefer a thinner crust, feel free to use approximately 2/3 of the box of graham crackers.
In a 10.5" springform pan, add the crushed graham crackers, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 stick (1/2 cup) of melted butter. Toss to combine, and firmly press the graham cracker crust into the pan using a measuring cup or similar flat surface.
Can't Stop The Filling
In a large mix bowl using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer such as a Kitchenaid), combine the cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar, vanilla, & lemon juice. Once combined, add an egg one at a time until fully incorporated.
Once mixed, pour over the springform pan crust until covered. Spoon spots of the fire-roasted cherry compote over the first layer of cheesecake filling. Repeat until all of the cheesecake filling has been used and topped with the compote. Using a knife, gently swoosh through the filling to create a streaming pattern (see below) being careful to not overly combine the compote and cheesecake filling.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for an hour. When you remove the cheesecake, it should still slightly jiggle in the center. Allow to fully cool on the stove top and then freeze overnight (or at least for eight hours). NOTE: Be sure to not place the warm springform pan immediately in the freezer or else the warm temperature can defrost the existing contents within and introduce some nasty bacteria. (In restaurants, it's actually a pretty hefty food violation.)
Whip It Good
The next day, using a strainer over a medium-sized mixing bowl, pour the cherry pit heavy cream over 1/3 cup sugar. Using a rubber spatula, gently press the cream through the strainer. Discard the remaining pulp and pits. Take a hand mixer (or stand mixer) and whip the cream until forming stiff peaks, approximately 2 minutes. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
While still frozen, remove cheesecake from springform pan. Allow cheesecake to thaw in the refrigerator for at least two hours. In a piping bag, add the whipped cream and lightly cover the cheesecake around the edges. Feel free to garnish with additional whipped cream and/or rainier cherries.
NOTE: This total uses several ingredients divided. For the whole recipe, you'll need 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar and one whole lemon.
The whipped cream packs some incredible flavor due to the cold steeping of the roasted cherry pits. Stone fruit kernels contain a bitter almond flavor due to noyaux. By roasting these cherries in their pits, you are able to extract some of that noyaux while soaking in the whipped cream over night. The remaining fruit around the pits adds for some beautiful pink color to the whipped cream--creating the perfect accent for an already great cheesecake.
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