Line the inside of a 9x5 inch (or just slightly larger) 8 cup capacity loaf pan with foil.
Melt the butter in the microwave using 50% power so that it will melt gently and not be too hot. Partially melted is okay too. Allow it to cool a bit.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
Add the 1/2 egg yolk and vanilla to the melted butter and add to the flour mixture. Stir until blended, then press firmly into the bottom of the foil lined loaf pan. Chill for 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Bake the crust at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes.
Reduce oven heat to 350. You will be baking the cheesecake at 350.
Prepare Filling: In large bowl, with a handheld electric mixer at medium speed, beat half of the softenedcream cheese just until smooth; beat in half of the sugar, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Stir in the cornstarch until blended.
Add remaining cheese and beat until blended, then beat in remaining sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low just until blended (don’t overbeat the eggs), then beat in the ½ yolk, followed by the room temperature cream.
Set the loaf pan in a 9x13 inch cake pan and fill with hot water so that it comes about half way up the sides. Bake in water bath for about 75 minutes. Cake should appear brown and smooth.
Allow the cake to cool at room temperature for about 2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 6 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, lift the foil from the pan and serve with your favorite topping.
To make the cherry topping, in a medium size saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt.
Drain cherries and reserve 3/4 cup of cherry juice. Add the 3/4 cup juice to the sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Place saucepan over medium heat and whisk or stir until mixture boils, thickens and becomes translucent.
Remove from the heat and stir in the drained cherries, lemon juice and almond extract.