Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple Blossom Cheesecake with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Pecan Crust

Fall is in the air and that means apple season! While apples are not on the top of my list of favorite fruits, I love apples baked into desserts; Apple Pie, Apple Streudel, Apple cake, Apple Crisp! The smell of apples and cinnamon baking is heavenly. This Apple Blossom Cheesecake with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Pecan Crust really captures the essence of these delicious Fall flavors.
 

 
 
I know, baking a cheesecake (especially one that looks fancy but really isn't), can be intimidating but is actually pretty easy when you follow the basic rules for baking cheesecake:
 
1. Your cream cheese and eggs absolutely must be at room temperature. This means taking them out of the fridge several hours before you use them. Cold cream cheese is a no-no and will make it difficult to blend resulting in a lumpy cheesecake batter.
 
2. Don't overmix. This incorporates too much air into the batter which may result in a cracked cheesecake.
 
3. Bake low and slow. Your oven temperature should be no higher than 300-325F max. Trust me on this one. A fussy water bath is not needed when you bake at a low temperature.
 
4. Don't peek! Opening and closing the oven too many times affects the oven temperature which can cause cracking.
 
5. Cool slowly. Again, this prevents cracking. The cool down process can take several hours. Be patient, it's worth it.
 
6. Don't stress! If, after all your best efforts, your cheesecake happens to crack, just cover it up with a topping! In the end, it's the flavor that matters anyway...
 
7. Plan ahead - cheesecakes are best when allowed to refrigerate overnight or 10 hours minimum.
 
 
So now that you're a cheesecake "expert", I hope you'll give this recipe for Apple Blossom Cheesecake with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Pecan Crust a try this Fall while apples are in season.
 
 


Apple Blossom Cheesecake with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
Makes one 8-9" cheesecake (serves 10-12)

Cheesecake Ingredients:
3  8oz packages cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temp

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Apple Topping Ingredients:
4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/3" slices
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter



Directions:

Make the apple topping:

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or skillet. Add the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat until apples are softened (approx. 5 minutes).

Transfer to a large bowl and cool completely.

Make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350f

Add the graham crackers and pecans to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely chopped.

Place the crumbs into a medium size bowl and add the cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until well combined and crumbs are moistened.

Press into the bottom and up the sides of your 8-9" spring form pan. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven.


Make the filling:

Reduce oven temp to 300f

Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with your electric hand mixer  at low speed just until creamy. If your cream cheese is properly softened, this should take less than 15 seconds.

Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract at beat at low speed until combined. Tip: Make sure your brown sugar doesn't have any lumps before adding.

Beat in the eggs one at a time at low speed mixing just until combined and scraping down the sides & bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.

Pour the filling into the springform pan. Place on a baking sheet.

Arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern (slices should be facing in the same direction) starting at the outer edges and finishing in the center.

Bake at 300 for approx. 60-70 minutes. or until sides are set but center is just slightly jiggly.

Turn oven off and prop oven door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Allow cheesecake to cool slowly in oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool on counter until room temperature (approx. 1 more hour).

Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 10 hours.

Before serving, gently trim off any overly browned edges off of the apples (if desired) and lightly brush the apple topping with a little apple jelly to give the topping a shiny look. Tip: You can also sub apricot jelly if you don't have apple jelly. Be sure to stir the jelly to loosen it up before brushing it on if needed

Slice and serve with a dollop of fresh cinnamon whipped cream!






10 comments:

  1. This looks and sounds amazing! I usually make a pumpkin spice cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll add this to the mix too.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Maureen! This cheesecake definitely would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal! BTW, I just subscribed to your blog. Your photos look amazing!

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    1. Thanks for the follow! I just posted my version of your recipe that I made earlier this week. Thanks for the inspiration. http://www.a-la-mo.com/2013/10/30/mini-apple-cheesecakes/

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    2. Thanks Mo! I saw your post....so yummy!!

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  3. This is GORGEOUS! Thanks for the tips. I always seem to have troubles with cheesecake baking. You've given me some solutions to my problems. :)

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    1. So glad I could help! These tips come from years of baking cheesecakes. Thanks for stopping by & commenting! We appreciate it!

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  4. That's a beautiful cheesecake! I love how you've arranged the apples :)

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    1. Thanks Joey! It's easier than it looks : )

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  5. Beautiful! I'm going to try this... hope my apples turn out to be as even as yours look. :-) I'd never heard about leaving the cheesecake in the oven to cool before. That sounds like a great idea! Thanks for sharing that!

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    1. Thanks Cat! It's a great trick. Hope you give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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