- 8 ounces (15 4 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch sheets of graham cracker) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia is recommended for cheesecakes but if you’ve had success with other brands, feel free to use them again)
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 5 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 ounces sweet or sour cherries, pitted (they’re not in season here so I used frozen; worked just fine)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar*
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
Make Cheesecake Filling: Preheat oven to 550 degrees. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions; if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese.
Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.
Make cherry topping (optional): Place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely.
Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate, you might need to trim the cake flat.
Spread topping (if using) over chilled cheesecake. The original recipe says to bring this to room temperature before serving, but I never have!
Do ahead: Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.