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Black Forest Cheesecake

1 pound frozen unsweetened cherries, thawed
1/4 cup kirsch

1/4 cup Morello cherry syrup or sour cherry syrup

8 1/2 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) well-chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, well-chilled
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch
Chocolate curls (optional)

Soak undrained cherries and kirsch in small bowl 6 hours.

Thoroughly drain cherries in strainer set over medium bowl, shaking
occasionally, at least two hours. Reserve liquid.

Add enough Morello cherry syrup to cherry liquid to measure 1 cup.
Pour 6 tablespoons into heavy 8-inch skillet (reserve remaining
liquid for filling). Halve cherries and add to skillet. Boil
until syrup is thickened and mixture resembles preserves, about 6
minutes.

Generously butter 9-inch springform pan. Finely crush cookies in
processor, using on/off turns. Cut in butter until mixture begins
to gather together, using on/off turns. Press crumbs into bottom
of pan and up sides to 3/4 inch from top; there should be no cracks.
Refrigerate crust for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 1 1/2 cups cream with chocolate
in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts,
stirring constantly. Cool 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs
1 at a time until just combined. Beat in chocolate mixture, then
remaining 10 tablespoons cherry liquid and vanilla. Pour into
crust. Bake until outer 2 inches of cake are firm but center still
moves slightly, about 1 1/4 hours (top may crack). Cool completely
on rack. Top pan with paper towels and cover tightly with foil.
Refrigerate 1 to 2 days.

Remove foil, paper towels and pan sides from cake. Spread cherry
topping over cake. Beat remaining 1 cup cream with 2 tablespoons
sugar and kirsch to peaks. Spoon into center of cake. Top with
chocolate curls if desired. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead and
refrigerated.) Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before
serving.

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