February 2019:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Cheesecake Crust:

1 ¼ cup Graham Cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

5 tbs. melted butter

Combine all ingredients and press in bottom of cheesecake pan.

To make filling, peel and core the apples for the filing into 1/2 –inch, bite-size pieces.  Combine the cider, cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and whisk until completely dissolved.  While stirring constantly, bring to a full boil over medium heat and continue to boil until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the apples.  Set aside to cool while you make the cake.

Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times.  Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.  Increase the miser speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla.  Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.  Beat in the cream just until completely blended.  Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter on top of the crust, then spoon the apple mixture over the batter, gently spreading it almost to the edge of the pan, completely covering the cake.

Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform.  Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 ¼ hours.  Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for about 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it).  Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.  Transfer the cake to the freezer for 1 hour.

For the prettiest cake, decorate within a few hours before serving, so the apples stay fresh and crisp.  To make the topping, core the apples and thinly slice them or cut them into bite-size pieces (leave the peel on if you like).  Toss the apples with lemon juice (this keeps them from turning brown).  Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan.  Place on a serving plate.  Top the cake with apples (wipe them with a paper towel first).

Warm the caramel ice cream topping (don’t let it boil), then drizzle it from the tip of a small spoon in stripes across the top of the cake, all around the edges, and some down the sides.  Return the cake to the freezer until the caramel has set, 30 minutes.  Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.  Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one.  Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate.  Do not freeze this cake.

Ronda and Steve Leto
Ronda and Steve Leto
The Leto Group