Monday, October 5, 2009

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Mmm...fall. There are a number of things about fall I look forward to, including the ever changing colors of the leaves, pumpkin beers, Halloween, and apple desserts. My CSA has been keeping us in apples and pears for the last several weeks--so many that we can hardly keep up. In celebration of my dad's and brother-in-law's October birthdays, I made a caramel apple cheesecake. The singular inspiration being all the apples in my house, and the desire to make something other than apple pie. I couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted; Not Quite Nigella's came closest in terms what I was visualizing, but fell short of my exact expectations (I used my own cheesecake recipe, made it less sweet, I wanted more apples...). Like most dabbling food bloggers out there, I simply used the recipe as a jumping off point, and embellished. Here's the recipe, as I butchered it:

Crust:
Several large handfuls of vanilla wafers (I used the fun color minis, but I'm sure that's irrelevant)
6 tablespoons butter

Blend in food processor until it come together. Press into bottom of springform pan, and bake for 10 minutes or so until it's kinda firm and not going to float away when you add filling.

Apple Layer:
2 tablespoons butter
3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (I used three different varieties)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
glug maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a touch of powdered ginger
a touch of all spice
a touch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Saute apples with butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup until there is liquid from the apples in the pan. Add spices and cornstarch, continuing to cook over medium heat until apples are soft but not mushy, and there is a nice syrup. Smoothly layer onto cooked crust.

Cheesecake:
3- 8 oz packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Whip cream cheese and sugar in electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next one. In a small bowl, combine the cream and flour, stirring until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture, along with vanilla bean paste. Mix until smooth and well blended. Pour slowly on top of apples (be careful here so you don't dislodge the apples).

Bake in a water bath for about 55 minutes at 325. Center should be set but jiggly when you pull it out. Cool, the refrigerate until serving. Right before serving, top with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cream

Melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat, until it boils. Cook for several minutes until mixture is thick and fragrant (like, say, caramel!). Add cream, and stir until combined. If your cream is cold, it may seize the caramel mixture and bubble furiously. Just keep stirring over the heat until it comes together. Cool until ready to top cheesecake.

By all accounts, this dessert was a hit, and nearly every one stuffed themselves with an entire slice, even after a rather filling dinner. Pardon the poor quality of the photo--it was taken with my cell phone camera, since I was at my parents' house.

1 comment:

all1336 said...

This looks outstanding. I do hope you will be bringing this for Thanksgiving Dinner. Aunt "A"