Friday, November 14, 2008

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake.

Ummm... let's see... what to say, what to say...

I could sit here and write and write and tell you just how damn delicious this cheesecake is. I mean, I could mention that the gingersnaps meld into a chewy, moist lightly spiced crust that compliments the creaminess of the cheesecake perfectly. I could also say that the addition of the fried apples overcame my fear of being a textural no-no and turned into little bites of apple-y goodness dotted throughout the cake. Maybe I'd also talk a little about the sweetness and homey-ness that the cake imparts due to the apple cider, cinnamon, and the brown sugar added to the batter. Oh yeah, I wouldn't want to forget the silky smooth texture that glides over your tongue from the sour cream, cream cheese, and heavy cream in the recipe.

Yeah, I could say all those things.

Or I could just say...




or maybe even


I've made a lot of cheesecakes folks... But this one is amazing.

This was a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe that was completed the week before I joined. Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats chose this one. I'm so glad I went back and decided to catch up on this recipe sooner rather than later.

Make it, you won't be sorry.
Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

This cheesecake is so freaking good. The only thing different that I might do next time, is make 1.5 of the crust, just a personal preference, but I prefer to have more of the crust go up the sides of my cheesecake, as written in the recipe you really only get a layer for the bottom of the crust.

I cut my apples wayyyyy thinner than Dorie tells you. I basically cut mine into thinnish slices, because I was really nervous about the texture being too weird in the cheesecake. I think it turned out great this way and will do it next time, too. I also didn't add all my apples (I used 3 huge fuji's) to the cheesecake, I just placed one layer of the thin apples on the cheesecake and ended up with a crap load of fried apples left over. Next time, I'll just slice up an apple and a half or so.

Also, my bowl of batter wasn't placed on my scale right, and I think I ended up adding as much as a 1/4 cup of MORE of brown sugar than the recipe called for... it turned out sweet, but not crazy sweet, so next time, I might go ahead and intentionally add a couple extra tablespoons of brown sugar to the batter.

I can never find apple cider. Arg! So, as usual when a recipe calls for it... I just used 100% apple juice. No problems.

I skipped the apple jelly and confectioners sugar. It was awesome enough without it.

For the Crust:
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples:
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

For the Filling:
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream

Apple jelly, for glazing, or confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

To Make the Crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples:
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake:
Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides


Engineer Baker said...

Hahahaha - I remember making this cheesecake. I was asked if I could make it every day from then on. Seriously, one guy said that if he could only eat one thing for the rest of his life, he'd pick this cheesecake. Awesome. I'm glad you got around to making it :)

April said...

Ok I'm convinced. I think I'll make it on Monday.

Stephanie said...

MMMMMM.... that post was AMAZING, Amy. It's definitely going on my "to bake" list. Yum!

Anonymous said...

This sounds absolutely delicious!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

This seriously does look amazingly delicious!

Sihan said...

I'm convinced as well! i'll be making this for a party this coming saturday. haha.

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