To put it lightly, this is pretty much the best dessert I’ve ever made. EVER. I know I said the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies were amazing, and the Apple Pie Cookies were pretty good too. With those desserts, I think I said that they were so good, I felt sorry for the people who couldn’t enjoy them with me. With this cheesecake, I didn’t even have time to pity the rest of the world. I was in too great a state of bliss.
I basically followed the recipe given, but made it in a 10″ pan instead of the 9″ pan selected. I also had to increase the amount of cheesecake filling because I wanted this to be more like a cheesecake, and less like a pie. I used a springform pan so it was cheesecake-y. The recipe (as modified below) stands on its own. I took it to a potluck and was told, “You win,” and then someone else bowed down to me. It’s been almost a month, and people are still talking about the cheesecake.
Be warned, though, this delight takes a lot of time to make to make. It took me about 2 hours to prep. Some of this may have been due to me peeling and slicing the apples by hand. You could use canned apple pie filling. But seriously? Don’t. Hire some kids to peel, core, and slice the apples if you need to. It’s worth the time and effort.
Anyway, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here’s the best cheesecake recipe ever.
For the crust
2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3/4-1 cup caramel (I used about 1/2 a 12 oz jar of caramel topping for ice cream)
For the apple pie filling
7 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
7 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
For the cheesecake:
8 oz. regular cream cheese
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1/2 one large lemon)
For the topping:
3/4; cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1/4-1/2 cup caramel
To make the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
3. 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.
4. 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 (about an inch or an inch and a half) of the way up the sides of the pan.
5. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
6. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling.
3. 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.
4. Let cool while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
To make the cheesecake
1. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F. Put a 9×13 baking dish full of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
2. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour the apple filling into the cheesecake crust. When the apples are no warmer than room temperature, spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust.
5. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (cheesecake should still be jiggly). Turn off the oven, and let cool in the oven to room temperature (about 2 hours). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Just before serving
1. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan.
2. Using the large cup and the flat blade of a Magic Bullet (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, if you’re not lucky enough to have a Magic Bullet), beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until stiff Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer.
3. Drop dollops (about 1 tsp each) of caramel on the whipped cream later, and swirl with a knife for a pretty topping.