This recipe I actually shared a couple of years ago. The photo was dreadful and the recipe itself was too sweet. So, I took a page out of Annie’s book and decided to revisit this recipe and reduce the sugar. I had made this for my husband’s family thanksgiving this year, but it came out disappointing. After I made it, I realized that I had the wrong size springform pan. So the crust didn’t fill the pan as much as it should have. And getting a slice out was nearly impossible thanks to the caramel leaking through and sticking to the parchment paper. So yeah, needless to say, I didn’t bring it as a dessert. Instead I got “stuck” eating the dessert all by myself. What a tragedy. (insert eye roll) Besides it being a mess, it was still delicious.
When my sister had a potluck this past weekend, I decided that it was time I try to make it again. This time I had the proper size springform pan, and I upped the amount of graham cracker crumbs in the crust so it would be nice and thick and sturdy. This time it came out perfectly. It was tall, just like I had dreamed of, the crust was thick enough that the caramel didn’t seep through. But not so thick that it was overpowering. It wasn’t as sickening sweet as it was before. In short, it was everything I had hoped it would be. And, there wasn’t a single slice left by the end of the night. Perhaps this is a little more of a Thanksgiving oriented dessert, but hey, cheesecake is acceptable anytime of the year, no matter the flavors! This makes a beautiful dessert for any party table, or for a special occasion for yourself. It’s well worth the time, and you can spread the process over a few days if you wish. Just make the caramel ahead of time, refrigerate the crust if need be for a few days, well covered. I hope you will enjoy the revamped recipe as much as I have!
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Mimi Hodges, the winner of Good Morning, America’s “Pie of Emeril’s Eye” Contest, 2000
For the crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
- 1/2-3/4 cup caramel sauce
- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5-6 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large egg
For the topping
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup caramel sauce
- Additional chopped pecans for garnish (optional)
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Remove from the oven, but maintain the oven temperature. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans, if using. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
- To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.
- Reduce the heat of the oven to 350ºF. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before proceeding.
- To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to over beat.) Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate.