Back in July I was judging at the International Cheese Awards and at lunch, they served up the biggest, creamiest Black Forest gateau I’d ever seen. I’ve not eaten Black Forest gateau for about 30 years and it was an incredible treat to eat it at the Cheese Awards. Ever since then, I’ve had the chocolate and cherry combination stuck in my head. To scratch that itch, over the weekend I made a simple chocolate cheesecake and topped it with some delicious Fabbri cherries in syrup.
My chocolate cheesecake topped with Fabbri cherries in syrup might not be authentic Black Forest fayre, but if you love chocolate and cherries together, then this cheesecake will float your boat for sure.
Fabbri cherries in syrup are demi-glacé cherries and are famous the world over. The Amarena cherries are small, black sour cherries that grow wild in the Italian cities of Bologna and Modena and are soft and juicy, with a sourness that really balances nicely with the sweet syrup. The Fabbri range of syrups and fruits in syrup are beautifully packaged in ceramic jars and the fruits are all a little bit unusual.
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There are lots of familiar Italian products available through Ciao Gusto Italian Deli at Ocado; such as Riso Gallo, Filippo Berio, Giovanni Rana and Cirio who are joined by products less well known in the UK such as Valsoia dairy free ice cream, Auricchio cheeses and Negroni charcuterie – everything you’ll find at the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli has been specially selected for its reputation as an authentic Italian favourite.
The Fabbri Amarena cherries are an authentic Italian favourite. They are gently cooked and preserved in sugar syrup, then they can be used as a dessert topping. They’d be brilliant spooned over ice cream, especially pistachio ice cream; or thick yoghurt, chocolate mousse or even my chocolate cheesecake.
This recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake with Cherries in Syrup makes 8-12 slices, depending on how generous you are when you’re slicing it up.
Chocolate Cheesecake with Cherries in Syrup
150g of Digestive Biscuits
40g Melted Unsalted Butter
150ml Whipping Cream
200g Cream Cheese
115g Golden Caster Sugar
2 heaped teaspoons of Cocoa Powder
150g Milk Chocolate
120g jar of Fabbri cherries in syrup.
Grease an 8 inch springform cake tin, or use whatever you would usually make a cheesecake in. I prefer springform because I find it easier to get the cheesecake out. I also added a circle of greaseproof paper underneath so I was doubly certain I’d get my cheesecake out of the tin.
Crush your digestive biscuits until they’re a reasonably fine crumb. I did this in a food processor, but you could put them in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin if you like. While you’re bashing your biscuits, melt your butter. I did this in a microwave for a minute. Mix your biscuit crumbs and butter together.
With the back of a metal spoon, press the biscuit base into the bottom of the tin. make sure it’s evenly spread and you’ve compacted everything. Put the base into the fridge for an hour.
With your base is chilling, it’s time to make the cheesy bit of the cheesecake. Melt your chocolate. I used milk chocolate, but if you prefer you could use dark plain chocolate. I melted my chocolate in the microwave for 30 second blasts until it was melting, I then stirred it until it had all melted. Set the chocolate aside to cool for a few minutes.
Whip your cream, I used a hand mixer so it didn’t take long. Once it’s whipped to fairly stiff peaks, add your cooled melted chocolate and the cocoa powder and fold in until well combined.
In another bowl mix your cream cheese and caster sugar together until light and fluffy, fold that into the chocolate cream mixture making sure there are no flecks of white left.
Take your biscuit base out of the fridge and top with the chocolate topping. Smooth it out with a spatula and maybe make an attractive ripple or swirl pattern on the top.
At this point you should put it back in the fridge, preferably overnight to set. Or you could put it in the freezer until you need it (this is a most excellent idea if you’re making it ahead for a dinner party or for Christmas maybe). If you’re freezing it, take it out about an hour before you need it, pop it on the serving plate and let it defrost until you’re ready to serve.
When you are about to serve your cheesecake, put it on a serving plate, taking care to remove the greaseproof paper if you’ve used it. Open your jar of Fabbri cherries in syrup and spoon out the cherries into a generous heap on the top of the cheesecake. Drizzle some of the syrup over the cheesecake and serve. You might want to pour some of the extra syrup into a little jug, as some people might want to add a bit more of the cherry syrup.
It’s not exactly like Black Forest gateau, but it’s similar enough to evoke some of those memories of desserts from yesteryear.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try my Baked Guinness Cheesecake.
Disclosure. We were given a small budget to buy some Ciao Gusto Italian Deli products for the purposes of writing a recipe. I have not been paid for this post. All images and opinions are our own.