I'll be upfront with you, my expectations were astronomically low due to some serious cosmetic issues we were having, but inside there, it packed some serious awesomeness. It was like a great big slice of harvest, autumnal goodness right in your face.
This one is going to make an encore right quick, let me tell you.
I am, however, still not the best at making cheesecakes. They're kind of hard and temperamental. I have lately become a fan of the water-baking method (as described in this recipe), but beware--use AT LEAST two layers of aluminum foil. It is a sad, horrific day when you pull the cheesecake out of the oven, only to discover that water has leaked in and your crust is soggy. Sad experience has taught me this truth.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
for the crust
- 12-15 honey graham crackers
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 2 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 gala apples
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoon apple juice
- t tablespoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 small jar caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Place the graham crackers, butter (sliced into pieces), cinnamon, and honey in a food processor and pulse several times until the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Pour the crumbs into a well-greased 9-inch spring-form pan, and gently press along the bottom and up the sides as high as you can go. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in 2 or more water-tight layers of aluminum foil. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove and set aside. Leave the oven on.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Melt the butter in a large, flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and toss in the apple slices and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Saute until soft and slightly browned. Drain the juices, and let cool.
In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with hand beaters, whip the cream cheese for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and cream well. Add the apple juice, vanilla, and cinnamon and continue beating on medium-low. While still beating, add one egg at a time, waiting until thoroughly mixed to add the next. Finally, add the sour cream and heavy cream, and fold in (or beat on lowest speed).
Pour in about half of the cream cheese mixture over the crust, then layer the apples over. Leave a little space between them and at the edge so the cake can fully form around them. Reserve a few slices to garnish the top. Pour the rest of the cream cheese mixture over, then form a little pattern or something on top if you're looking for presentation points.
Place the pan in a large roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the pan, so the water comes about half-way up the spring-form pan. This will help to reduce cracking and improve the consistency of the cake. Bake for about 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.
Pull the cake out of the oven, remove the foil, and regridgerate, still in the pan, overnight (or at least 6 hours). It needs this time to thicken and solidify, so really, don't skimp on it.
Before serving, pour the caramel sauce over the cake.