Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 6 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Grease a 10-inch springform pan and dump in the graham cracker mixture.
- Use your fingers to spread it around the bottom of the pan. Use a flat bottom measuring cup to press the crumbs into the pan going about halfway up the sides.
- Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat on medium-high speed 3 – 8 ounce packages of softened cream cheese and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar only until combined and creamy.
- Reduce the speed to medium-low, and add in 3/4 cups sour cream (room temperature), 2 teaspoons pure vanilla, 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch only until combined. Be careful not to over beat. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula while beating.
- Add 2 large eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Once the eggs have been added and are incorporated, stop mixing.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the greased springform pan.
- Place the springform pan into a larger round cake pan. Place both of these pans into a large roasting pan.
- Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour water halfway up the side of the larger round cake pan.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the cheesecake has a slight jiggle in the middle. Do not open the door until almost done.
- Turn the oven off and slightly crack the door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour while cooling.
- Remove the springform pan from the oven and set it on the countertop for a couple of hours to completely cool.
- Place the cooled cheesecake in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight to chill.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream Filling
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
- Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and continue to beat.
- Beat in the thawed whipped cream until fully combined and fluffy.
- Chill in the refrigerator until ready to spread on the baked cheesecake batter.
Homemade Tart Cherry Topping
- Thaw and drain 2 – 12 ounce packages of frozen tart cherries. Reserve the juice.
- Make a cornstarch slurry by whisking together 1/3 cup of cherry juice and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a medium-size sauce pan heat the remaining cherry juice, 1 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved and it begins to boil.
- Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the cherry mixture while quickly whisking.
- Return to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to slow boil until the cherry juice has thickened.
- Add in the cherries and gently stir. Continue to cook until the cherries are thickened to a spreadable consistency. Set aside to cool.
- Chill in the refrigerator.
- Pull the chilled cheesecake from the refrigerator. Run a table knife around the edge.
- Spoon the mascarpone whipped cream filling onto the top of the cheesecake and spread all around.
- Spoon the cherry topping onto the whipped cream layer and spread around.
- Unlock the side latch of the springform pan and remove the sides.
- Serve either on the metal bottom or carefully remove and place on a cake platter.
- Slice and Serve.