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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

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This isn't the easiest or fastest dessert to make, but I think Thanksgiving calls for something a little bit more elaborate, don't you? The nice thing is you can make this a day ahead of time and top it with the whipped cream just before serving. I'll be honest, the recipe itself is a bit of an undertaking. My lovely sous chef Ryan was willing to help me out and it took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to do everything through step 5. Of course, I could have simplified the process and used store-bought caramel sauce, but ambition got the best of me!

Let me emphasize this, though: this dessert is worth every minute of preparation. Your guests will love you for placing a piece of this in front of them, and I guarantee you'll be directing them to this site for the recipe. How can you go wrong with a graham cracker crust topped with caramel and pecans, followed by sauteed apples, a cheesecake layer, and finally finished with freshly whipped cream and more pecans? It's a surefire win! Make yours prettier by topping with leftover caramel sauce. I had every intention of beautifying it, but then I exploded the leftover caramel in the microwave. I also tracked freshly whipped cream ALL over my kitchen and am now sending my coat to the dry cleaners...but that's another story.

Add this to your dessert buffet for Turkey day; you won't be sorry! Need a more traditional pie to serve as well? Stay tuned, that recipe's coming! Have some guests craving pumpkin? Make a batch of pumpkin bars or pumpkin cake.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
from Annie's Eats

for the crust-
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-3 tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
-1/2-3/4 cup caramel (see below for recipe)
-1 cup chopped pecans

for the apple filling-
-5 tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-5-6 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

for the cheesecake-
-8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

for the topping-
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-3-4 tbsp confectioners' sugar
-1/4-1/2 cup caramel
-chopped pecans

for the caramel-
-1 stick unsalted butter
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 cup packed light brown sugar

To Make the Caramel:
1. Combine butter, cream, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and continue to stir until it thickens (approximately 8 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper (I skipped this step and just greased my pan well. The first piece was tough to get out, but the rest came out fine!). In a medium-sized bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Toss until evenly mixed and moist. Press into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing mixture halfway up the sides.
2. Bake for 6-8 minutes (until light brown). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Pour a layer of caramel over the crust and sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
3. To make the apples, melt butter in a saucepan and add brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute, until bubbling. Add apples, tossing to coat. Cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced (15-20 minutes). Allow apples to cool before placing in crust.
4. Reduce oven heat to 350F. To make the cheesecake layer, use an electric mixer to mix sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla, egg, and lemon juice, beating until well-combined. Spread the cheesecake filling over the apples.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
6. To serve, remove cheesecake from springform pan. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and confectioners' sugar on medium until stiff peaks form (don't overbeat!). Carefully spread over cheesecake layer.
7. Top with caramel sauce and pecans. Slice into pieces before serving.

This is linked to Eat at Home.