Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

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
For the apple filling:
  • 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
For the cheesecake:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the topping:
  • 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.


Unknown said...

That is one of the prettiest pies ever!

Danielle said...

It seems like a lot of work for one cheesecake but i'm sure it tastes really good!

The Marden Family said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and had to let you know I'm bookmarking a ton of recipes- thanks so much for sharing! I'm in an Atlanta suburb too- are you on the north or south side?

Rebecca said...

Ohhhh my! That looks like it could be my new favorite dessert!

Josie said...

Danielle, Its so much more than just a cheesecake - the sum is greater than all the parts!

Marden, thanks so much, let me know if/when you try out some recipes. I am in the northern suburbs, but grew up on the southside!

Joanne said...

This is just gorgeous! I am SO going to have to try this. caramel apples are a serious addiction of mine.

Eliana said...

WOW - this looks heavenly and perfect for fall. I could not be trusted around this baby!

Peabody said...

I've made this from Annie, it's super good. Your's turned out lovely. said...

This is just what I need right now, love apples and caramel together, but who doesn't?

Jessica said...

Oh Josie, this is perfect to celebrate the first day of fall! As soon as it actually cools down here and starts feeling like Fall this will be on my must make list! Beautiful swirls! :-)

Anonymous said...! I can't wait to make this next time we go apple picking!

Sara said...

Hi Josie!

I'd like to attempt this recipe for a gathering this weekend. I do have one question about the caramel--should I make it from scratch and pour the warm caramel over the crust? I'm not sure about the best way to complete that step.

Josie said...

Hi Sara,
Either store-bought or homemade caramel is fine. If you make it from scratch, then it can be cooled to room temp before pouring it into the crust or slightly warm... I would make sure its not warm when you drizzle it over the top for the final step though. Hope that makes sense - good luck!

Taylor said...

I have made this before and it is sooooo good! Your version looks much prettier than mine did :)

Sophia said...

Wow, great job here. Awesome picture too! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living's Tasty Thanksgiving Recipe Contest! It looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

can the cheesecake layer be doubled?

Post a Comment