For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
For the filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the topping:
1½ lbs. fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
½ cup sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice
- step 1: Show Images
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir together with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened. Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. (I like to use a small drinking glass to press the crumbs down.) Bake until just set, 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- step 2: Show Images
To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Blend in the sugar until smooth. Mix in the salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- step 3: Show Images
Divide the batter evenly between the liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. (They will look quite puffed initially but will return to normal quickly.) Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
- step 4: Show Images
To make the cherry topping, combine the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the cherries begin to release their juices and soften, about 6-8 minutes. Mix the cornstarch and lemon juice until smooth, then stir into the cherry mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute until thickened. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill. Top each cheesecake with a small spoonful of the cherry topping before serving.