I was sharing with my friend Ira what a fun Valentine's Day I had, part of which was preparing this special dessert I'd found on the Internet for a group of ladies who were coming to my home that day. The ladies ooh-ed and ahh-ed and raved about how delicious it was, so I'm sharing it with you. I used our secret family recipe hot fudge sauce, but I'm sure you could use a purchased one as well. The not-too-sweet flavors, the festive shape and the contrasting colors all make this dessert a winner -- with a beautiful presentation.
2 refrigerated 9-inch (23mm) pie crusts, one 15-ounce (425g) package
About 2 teaspoons (20ml) all-purpose flour, for sprinkling
One 8-ounce (227g) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup (236ml) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) almond extract
1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (160ml) hot fudge topping
One 21-ounce (600g) can cherry pie filling
1. Preheat the oven to 450'F (233C).
2. Allow both crust pouches to stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove one crust from a pouch and unfold. Press to smooth the fold lines.
3. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5ml) of flour over the crust. Lay the crust, floured side down, on an ungreased baking sheet. Using a paper pattern as a guide, cut the crust into a heart shape. Prick the crust all over with a fork.
4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
5. Repeat with the remaining crust so that you have 2 heart-shaped crusts.
6. Combine the cream cheese, confectionersí sugar and almond extract and beat in an electric mixer set on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth. Add the heavy cream and beat until thick.
7. To assemble, place one heart-shaped pie crust on a serving plate and spread with 1/3 cup (80ml) hot fudge. Carefully spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the hot fudge. Spoon two-thirds of the cherry pie filling over cream cheese.
8. Spread second crust with remaining hot fudge and set on top of the cake, fudge side up. Carefully spread with the remaining cream cheese mixture and cherry pie filling, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5cm) border.
9. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
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