Friday, January 1, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

Well, I (obviously) haven't been doing too good on the blogging regularly once again. Life has this pesky little habit of rearing it's head up in my airspace and demanding my immediate attention. Plus, the holidays are always crazy on top of the crazy life regularly indulges in.

Ok, I have no idea what I'm rambling about now.

Anyhoo, I hope everyone had a good holiday (and if not good, at least not shitty). I myself had a damn fine holiday. My mother was able to come up and visit for almost a week and I ate more food than I probably should have.

Out of all the amazingly delicious things I made, one of my favorites was a Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie. I got the recipe from Annie's Eats and it was fabulous. Besides the general tastiness, the eye appeal is very high on this one.

Just take a look:


Isn't that a thing of beauty? And that's with my crappy camera skills (can't wait to take photography in the spring). The recipe does take a little work since there are a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult.

Annie also included her own homemade caramel recipe (which you can find here), but I used this buttermilk syrup recipe which tastes like caramel but is half the effort. (It's also super tasty drizzled over banana pancakes.) But I promise that if you use store bought caramel and whipped cream the world wont come to an end.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients:

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
Chopped pecans

Directions:

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. 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. 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 of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let 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.

To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. 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. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat.) Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans if desired. Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.

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