Nanking cherries grow in colder climates and it is the closest thing we get to the sweet tasting cherries that you can buy in the store. A Nanking cherry is tart for pretty much its whole time on the tree. Right now, they are beginning to turn a dark red which is when they become a little sweeter.
Yesterday, my daughter asked if we could bake them into something today. This morning, we braved a little bit of rain to pick out some cherries for our new creation.
Since our two trees are smaller, and one of them has already been picked clean, I needed to come up with a recipe that didn’t require a lot of Nanking cherries. I decided to turn them into a sauce and thought they would go well with cheesecake.
Really — what doesn’t go well with cheesecake?
They turned out great and got rave reviews from everyone at the dinner table so I’m sharing the recipe. The tartness of the cherries matches really well with the tropical coconut cheesecake and almond/graham wafer base.
- 1 1/2 cups Nanking cherries
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 3 tsp reserved cherry water (see instructions)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3/4 cup graham wafer crumbs
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 3 tbsp softened butter (not melted)
- 5 drops pure almond extract
- 2 X 250 gram pkgs light cream cheese at room temp
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- Put washed Nanking cherries in a small pot and cover with water.
- Boil on med-high for 10-15 minutes or until skin breaks and cherries begin to look soft.
- Remove cherries and set the water aside (do not discard)
- Mash the cherries in a strainer into a clean and empty small pot. This liquid will be the base of your sauce, get as much as you can.
- Mix (1 tsp) corn starch, (3 tsp) reserved cherry water, and (1 tsp) sugar together in a small bowl until dissolved and add to the Nanking cherry sauce mixture.
- Bring to a boil and cook until it thickens, set aside (stir occasionally while the sauce cools).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line your mini muffin tins with miniature cupcake liners.
- Put graham wafer crumbs, ground almonds, and softened butter in a bowl and combine (squish together with your hands). Add drops of almond extract and mix in well.
- Add graham wafer crumb mixture to the mini cupcake liners, tapping them lightly into the tins.
- Set aside.
- Beat cream cheese, eggs, sugar and coconut extract together until all lumps are gone and it is light and fluffy. For best results, use a mixer on med-high speeds.
- Add on top of the graham wafer crumb mixture filling almost to the top.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool in the tins for 10-15 minutes, then remove and set on a cooling rack.
- Once cheesecake and Nanking cherry sauce have cooled, top the cheesecake with the sauce and serve or refrigerate.
- You can do the sauce before you start everything else, or you can save time and do it while your cheesecake is cooking. I had to do mine up before hand as I was cooking with my two girls so I couldn't move so quickly ad they wanted to help. The times in this recipe are based on you baking alone and multitasking.
- When the cheesecake bakes, it will look like it is rising and cracking. This is normal and it settles back down as it cools.