1 1/2 cups whipping cream divided
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 (9-inch) chocolate crumb piecrust (I made mine from scratch)
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling (look for a deluxe version with lots of cherries)
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
16 maraschino cherries with stems
2 cups whipped topping, thawed (I made real whipped cream)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave chocolate morsels and cream in a small bowl on medium for 1 to 2 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt (I used a double boiler). Whisk in butter until smooth. Let cool, whisking occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture is a spreadable consistency.
Spoon half of chocolate mixture into pie crust. Cover and chill remaining chocolate mixture. Spoon cherry pie filling evenly over chocolate mixture in pie crust. Place pie on a baking sheet and set aside.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, egg and almond extract at medium speed with an electric mixture until smooth. Pour evenly over cherry pie filling. (The pie shell will be full, but it will not overflow when you bake it.)
Bake fro 30 minutes or until center is set. Remove pie from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
Microwave reserve chocolate mixture at medium power for 1 minute. (Again, I used a double boiler). Stir until spreadable. Dip cherries in chocolate mixture and let them firm on a sheet of wax paper for 15 minutes before decorating pie. (Hint: Be sure to wipe off the cherries with a paper towel so that they are dry before dipping into the chocolate or the chocolate will not stick. I also put my cherries into the refrigerator to firm up.)
Spread remaining chocolate evenly over top of pie. Spoon 8 dollops of whipped topping around outer edge; place 2 cherries in each dollop. (I used real whipped cream and piped it on and then added the cherries--see picture. Makes for a more classy looking pie!! I got lots of "oohs" when I uncovered it last night).