1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
21 ounces (1 can) cherry filling
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (divided) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, slightly beaten
In a skillet over medium heat, toast almonds. Remove from heat; chop finely. In a medium bowl, combine almonds, graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press crumb mixture
evenly 2 inches up the sides and over the bottom of a 10--inch springform pan. Set aside.
In an electric blender or food processor container, puree cherry filling until smooth. Pour pureed cherry
filing into a medium saucepan. Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cornstarch; stir into cherry filling. Cook, stirring constantly, over a low heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from
heat. Stir in almond extract. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl with a electric mixer, combine cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, Amaretto, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Add eggs all at
once, beating on low speed just until mixed. Do not over beat.
To assemble the cheesecake, pour one-third of the cream cheese mixture into prepared crust. Top with about 1/3 cup of the cherry puree.
Swirl cherry mixture into cream cheese mixture using a knife or spatula. Repeat layers twice, ending with cherry puree. Reserve remaining puree.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven 60 to 65 minutes or
until the center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Do not let the top crack. Cool on wire rack. Let chill. To serve, spoon a generous tablespoon of puree on serving plate. Place cheesecake wedge
on top of puree.
NOTE: When baking cheesecake, set a shallow baking dish filled with water on the lower shelf of the oven. Bake cheesecake on shelf in middle of the oven. The resulting cheesecake
will be creamy without the usual dry outer edge.