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Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

8 1/2 ounce package chocolate wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup melted butter

12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup cherry flavored liqueur (or cherry syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

16-ounce can cherry pie filling

Combine chocolate wafer crumbs and butter. Pat firmly into 9-inch
springform pan, covering bottom and 2 1/2 inches up sides. Chill
30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine over hot (not boiling)
water, chocolate chips and cream. Stir until chips are melted and
mixture is smooth. Set aside. In large bowl, combine cream cheese
and sugar, beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating
well after each addition. Add chocolate mixture, cherry liqueur
and vanilla, mix until blended. Pour into prepared crust. Bake
at 325 for 1 hour. Turn oven off. Let stand in oven with door
ajar for 1 hour. Remove and cool completely. Chill 24 hours.

Spread cherry pie filling over top of cheesecake to 1 inch from
edge. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

I'm partial to using chocolate "leaves" as garnish on this (and
other) chocolate desserts... They're very easy to make. Pick some
fairly heavy, shiny leaves off something nontoxic. (Melt chocolate
(semi-sweet chips, milk or dark, depending on your preference.)
Dip the front (top) side of the leaf *only* in melted chocolate
and put on wax paper to cool. When the chocolate is cool/hard,
peel the real leaf off, and presto... chocolate leaves for garnish.


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