I love cheesecake. But apple cheesecake is not my favorite. With that said, I was up for the challenge to come up with a recipe that worked for me. Let's just say my first venture into the land of apple cheesecake was a complete disaster. I used Granny Smiths and sautéed them much like this recipe calls for. But the apples were still too moist, allowing their juices to mix into the cheesecake batter making for a gloppy mess. This time was different thankfully.
I adapted my base cheesecake recipe with some added brown sugar, apple pie spice (usually a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) an d apple cider. The apple cider gave it a hint of apple flavor but the star of the cheesecake are the apples themselves. A surprise layer of sweet and caramelized apples are hidden inside this cheesecake. They came out tender and didn’t mess with the texture of the cheesecake batter.
I used Fuji apples this time and I was pleasantly surprised. They don’t fall apart in the frying pan, they hold their texture and even caramelize beautifully with a little added brown sugar. These are my new favorite cooking apples.
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
¾ c. milk
4 Tbs. apple cider
1 c. sour cream
¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons apple pie spice
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 large Fuji, peeled, cored and cut thinly, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 ½ c. ginger snap cookie crumbs
2 Tbs. brown sugar
4 Tbs. melted butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
For the Apples
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high. Stir in half of the apples and cook, until they are golden and limp, about 5 to 10 minutes. Scatter the apples with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cook, tossing to coat, for 1 minute. Scrape apple mixture onto a plate and repeat with remaining apples, butter and sugar. When done, set aside to cool.
For the Crust
In a medium bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle in butter and stir to moisten the crumbs. Scoop crumbs into a spring form pan coated with nonstick spray and firmly press them over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place pan into a preheated oven at 350 degrees and cook for 10 minutes, until the edges are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the Filling
- Triple wrap bottom of spring form pan with the wide version of Reynolds foil.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix cream cheese with sugars until smooth. Blend in milk and apple cider, and then mix in eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, apple pie spice and flour until smooth.
- Pour about a third of the filling into the prepared crust. Add the apples as an even layer, and pour the rest of the filling on top.
- Use a water bath for the cheesecake. Put spring form pan in larger rectangular pan. Set in oven, and add water until about 1-2 inches high on spring form pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave cheesecake to cool, about 2-3 hours, to prevent cracking from cooling down too fast. Then remove from oven and set on counter to finish cooling to room temperature.