Fall is officially here, and regardless of the fact that its going to be 90 degrees today, I guess it's time to embrace the season. And embrace it I did with this cheesecake/pie/dessert/God-send. Let's break down this dessert piece by piece, shall we? First, you start with a cinnamon-spiced graham cracker crust. Top that with a thin layer of caramel and toasted pecans, followed by a layer of brown sugar-cinnamon apples. Next comes a cheesecake layer, then the whole thing is finished off with freshly whipped cream and more caramel. Reminiscent of a candy-apple on crack, this pie is insane - but in the best possible way.
Nothing is very challenging, though the whole thing does require a bit of time - the crust needs to cook and cool, apples need to be cooked, cheesecake cooked, then the whole thing needs to chill for several hours before serving. But don't let any of that deter you from making this. Just take it step by step, and allow yourself plenty of time. Its a really fun dessert to make, and even more fun to eat.
Though I have a love-hate relationship with fall (love the actual season, but hate that it means winter is around the corner), there's nothing not to love about this pie.
One Year Ago: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Caramel-Apple Cheesecake Pie
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Mimi Hodges, as seen on Annie's Eats
For the crust:
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ½-¾ cup caramel
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
- ¼-½ cup caramel
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork the ingredients are combined and the crumbs are moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared 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. Cool for about 10 minutes. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
For the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute, or until it begins to bubble. Add the apples and toss to combine well, then allow to cook 15-20 minutes, or until they are softened and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Pour into the springform pan and set aside.
To make the cheesecake layer, decrease the oven temperature to 350. Cream the sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon, and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Pour over the apples, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake until just set but not browned, about 30 minutes. A knife inserted into the center will come out clean with its done. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 4 hours before topping with whipped cream and serving.
To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream and confectioner's sugar into a clean bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat over medium-high speed just until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip. Carefully spread over the cheesecake layer, then drop caramel by dollops on top. Use a knife to swirl into the whipped cream. Serve.