06 November, 2013

Best of Both Worlds

I get recipes from people all over the world, no exaggeration (you'd think my following on the website would be larger!!  Har, har!).  Sometimes they are real duds, and sometimes the concept is fabulous but I can tell by looking at a recipe that it isn't going to execute the way the person told me it would without me "tweaking" it quite a bit.  Hit the "rewind" button to two weeks ago....

I started seeing this recipe circulating on Facebook.  Apple Crisp Cheesecake.  When you go ahead and look at the recipe, it seems like a great recipe until you read that it is for a 6 inch spring form and a host of other problems with the recipe.  So...what did I do??  I did what I usually do.  I took the concept and made the end result better.  

Y'all know, two of my favorite things are Apple Crisp and Cheesecake.  Dessert wise, I don't think you can get much better than that.  Even with my lactose intolerance problems, I will suffer...horribly...just for that cheesecake taste to be on my tongue for the few minutes that it is.  Then there is apple crisp...  Growing up in Minnesota it is a staple autumn dessert.  Tons of apple trees (anyone ever heard of the Bayfield Apple Fest??) in the Great Lakes Region and it gets cold mighty early in that neck of the woods.  So...what *would* happen if I took my two favorite desserts and combined them...then drizzled it with caramel.  I'll tell you what will happen...  People will all of the sudden think you are a magician because that plate of cheesecake is going to disappear faster than Houdini ever could!!

Let's get started...  Three things.  One, this cheesecake does not need to be baked in a hot water bath.  But you should bake it inside something big enough to catch anything that might boil over.  I did bake this one in water but I found it didn't need it in the end.  Two, actually letting the "crisp" part of the apple crisp topping on this sucker get "crisp" isn't very conducive to slicing the cheesecake later.  Found that little nugget out the hard way.  Third, cheesecake batter turns out best when the cream cheese and eggs are room temperature before beginning the batter.  So...at least 30 minutes before beginning the batter make sure the eggs and cream cheese are out of the fridge and in a place where they can easily come to room temperature.

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

12 whole sheets of organic graham crackers, crushed
1 c. oats
10 T. unsalted butter, melted
3 T. organic brown cane sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F

Break the graham crackers into manageable chunks and toss them in a food processor with the oats and brown sugar.  Let it run on high until the crackers and oats are crumbs and the brown sugar is well incorporated.  While the machine is doing that, melt the butter in a small saucepan or the microwave.  While the processor is on, drizzle in the butter slowly.  When the butter is evenly distributed in the crumbed mixture turn off the machine and turn it out into your spring form pan.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan and up the sides.  If you prefer a thick bottom crust, don't press any up the sides; if you like a thinner crust use an 8 inch cake pan to really press the crumbs into the bottom and squish them up the side.  Put the crust in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.  Allow it to completely cool before adding the cheesecake batter to it.

***Baking the crust for a little while ahead of time helps ensure a crisp crust and allows for less of a chance of the cheesecake causing it to "weep" (become soggy) after baking and completely cooling in the refrigerator.***

Apple Layer
4 apples; peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 c. organic brown cane sugar

2 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. ginger

Toss together in a bowl to let the flavors marry and set the apples aside while you make the cheesecake batter.

Crisp Topping
3/4 c. oats
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. organic brown cane sugar
1 T. cinnamon
6 T. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)

Mix all ingredients into a medium sized bowl with your hand or a fork.  Set aside until you're ready to put on top of the apple layer.

Cheesecake Batter
3-8 oz. bricks of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. organic cane sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
3 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. lemon zest or juice, optional
10 inch long, wide band of parchment paper
1 T. butter

Toss your room temperature cream cheese into your stand mixer or into a large bowl, turn your mixer on low and let it go until the cream cheese seems smoothly whipped.  Scrape down the sides of your bowl.  Then add in your sugar, vanilla, and flour.  Once those are well incorporated stop mixing and scrape down your bowl.  (You'll thank me for that later) Add in your eggs making sure they get fully mixed into the batter.  Scrape down your bowl again.  If there was any of the mixture that wasn't well mixed at this point, turn your mixer on again and whip it into the batter.  (I usually let my stand mixer go for a good 3 minutes just whipping to make sure it is silky smooth.)  Add in the milk and lemon zest or juice and give it one last good mix.

In the completely COOLED spring form pan grease the edges of the pan that are still exposed (the part that isn't covered with crust) with the butter.  Place the strip of parchment paper against the wall of the pan.  Again...you'll thank me for THIS later.  I actually forgot to do this and it messed with me being able to get the cheesecake out without losing bits of the filling and topping.  I was mildly perturbed. 

Pour the batter into the pan after the parchment is arranged and safely sticking to the buttered sides of the pan.  Once the batter is in the pan and you've given it a little giggle to settle it, top your batter with the apples.

As you can see from the picture...I sliced my apples when I first tried this recipe out.  This is TOTALLY pointless.  It would really be for presentation purposes only and...the whole thing gets covered by a topping.  SO, your best bet is going to be to dice the apples for maximum apple coverage which is going to give you the best bang for your buck as far as effort on this sucker.

 This is what it looked like before baking...

After you get the crumble topping on it is time to bake.  Bake this baby in the oven at 325 for 15 minutes, and then at 300 for 1 hour and 15 minutes OR until the internal temperature of the cheesecake hits 150 degrees F.  This may take longer if your oven has problems with hot spots, etc.  I wouldn't recommend the "shake" method of checking if it is done.  The topping and apples will hide the thermometer hole, so just test the temp and don't worry about it.  

This is what it looked like when it was finished...

Note...lol...the messed up gnarly looking edges.  This is what happens when one forgets their parchment border.  Good for me that it didn't affect the taste of the cheesecake, eh?

While this beauty is cooling the requisite 4 hours +, make your caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 c. organic brown cane sugar
3 T. cornstarch
3/4 c. water
1 c. cream
1/4 c. + 2 T. brown rice syrup or corn syrup
3 T. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

In a bowl stir together the sugar and cornstarch then in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan stir the sugar, cornstarch, and water together on medium heat.  Add in the cream, butter, and syrup.  Stirring it constantly, allow the sauce to boil until it appears curdled.  (Be careful not to scorch it.  You'll have to start over if you do!) Then boil it for about 2 more minutes or until when a cold spoon is put into mixture it thickly coats the spoon and stays on when dipped into the caramel.  Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla bean paste/extract.  Stir in and set it aside until you're ready to drizzle on the cheesecake slices when served.

There isn't much to say about this picture except...c'mon...you know you want to make this, so go ahead and make your shopping list now.  No, go....I'll wait...

The most important thing I can tell you about this is that when my Mister and I shared a slice last night he said it was "good".  He doesn't usually go that far with desserts that I make.  Not without me asking anyhow.  He volunteered that assessment.  So...from that you can glean this is some dang good cheesecake.  If you aren't sure, here is another important picture....

That was my cheesecake plate after I brought the rest of the cheesecake to church this morning.  I informed the ladies in my church family that I had made an apple crisp cheesecake with caramel sauce and we needed to find bellies for the rest.  It didn't look like many of the ladies I reached out to on Facebook were going to be able to make it to the kitchen for a slice.  But, lol...ha!  They came....they devoured....my Mister was slightly crushed lol...  I didn't find out until after church and on our way home he harbored a small hope that there would be a slice left.  Guess who will most likely be making another Apple Crisp Cheesecake in the near future??  I bet he requests this for Thanksgiving every year from now on.  Stay tuned...   We'll see what happens.


  1. This was the BEST cheesecake I've ever eaten, and I've eaten some great cheesecakes. The woman is a goddess. Go now, buy the ingredients and make this baby, you'll never go back to other cheesecakes again!

  2. Thanks so much Dana! I am glad you enjoyed it! =)