In spite of the warm November day yesterday, on which I wore nothing more than a tank top with skirt and boots to go get groceries, the trees are losing their leaves, and the vibrant fall colors which were at their peak last week are starting to become a memory. We're on the verge of winter now and the ground is covered with crunchy brown leaves.
I loved making caramel apples as a kid, but it's something that I've never actually done as an adult, maybe because I actually like the idea of them better than eating an entire apple covered in sticky caramel and candy.
Over a month ago, one of my friends gave birth to her first baby, a little girl named Lyla. So I thought it would be the perfect chance to try out a recipe I had been wanting to make for a caramel apple cheesecake, and take it over to her house after they got settled in back at home with the new baby.
With all the layers of the salted graham cracker crust, creamy vanilla bean cheesecake, apple pie filling and caramel sauce and toffee bits, I was a little sad that I didn't get to cut into the cheesecake to see how it looked.
But there was a little extra filling left, so I made a couple of caramel apple cheesecake parfaits in glasses for dessert for Jamie and me that night. And it tasted just like a fall day that's on the verge of winter...
One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Two Years Ago: French Onion Soup on a Snowy Day
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
· 2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
· 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
· 10 tablespoons melted butter
Cream Cheese Filling:
· 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
· 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
· ½ cup dark brown sugar
· 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
· ½ cup sour cream
· 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Apple Pie Filling:
· 6 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
· ½ cup dark brown sugar
· 1 tablespoon lemon juice
· 1 teaspoon cinnamon
· ½ teaspoon ginger
· ¼ teaspoon cloves
· ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
· 2 tablespoons flour
· 2 tablespoons cold water
For the crust:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine crushed graham crackers, salt and melted butter. Transfer crumbs to an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan and press crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the apple filling:
In a large saucepan, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar and spices. Simmer over medium low heat until juicy and the apples have softened, about 30-40 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water to create a slurry. Add to the apple mixture and simmer for 5-10 more minutes until the juices have thickened. Cool completely in the refrigerator.
For the cream cheese filling:
Pour 1/4 cup heavy cream into microwave-safe measuring cup. Add gelatin and whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes; it will be thick and clumpy. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to completely dissolve the gelatin. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and brown sugar at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and sour cream and beat at medium-high speed until smooth and thick with no lumps, about 2-3 minutes, scraping the bowl down a few times.
Beat in the vanilla bean paste and gelatin mixture until smooth and combined, another 1-2 minutes. Spread half the cream cheese filling over the cooled crust. Spread the cooled apple filling over the cream cheese, then spread the remainder of the cream cheese filling over the apples. Smooth out the top. Drizzle with the Salted Caramel Sauce. Sprinkle with toffee bits, if you like.
Refrigerate for several hours before cutting and serving.
Yields 8-12 servings.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen