Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie Week 7: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

This week at Tuesdays with Dorie, Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats chose the Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake. I am not a big cheesecake eater, but I know several people who love it, so I am happy to make one when it is requested. This cheesecake was one of the tastiest cheesecakes I've tried. I love the hidden layer of apples and the cinnamon flavor of the filling. For the graham cracker crust, I used crushed graham crackers with a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The flavors came together nicely. My cheesecake browned a bit too much on the top because I forgot to cover it with aluminum, but it didn't affect the flavor. The cheesecake set up well with no problems after an hour and a half of baking. I will definitely make this again if asked to make a cheesecake. Be sure to check out our Tuesdays with Dorie Blog to see how the other members did the the cheesecake! Stay tuned next week for Almost-Fudge Gateau, chosen by Nikki of Crazy Delicious.

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

For the Crust
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs) (I used graham cracker crumbs with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon sprinkled in)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths (I used Golden Delicious)
2 tablespoons (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 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons
apple cider
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons 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. Th
e 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.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


Mary said...

I don't love cheesecake either, but this one was really delicious...yours looks great! The crust sounds yummy.

April said...

YUM! that is all I can say about this!

Anonymous said...

Mmm I love how visible the apples are in your cheesecake! Looks wonderful!

Marie said...

Beautifully delicious looking cheesecake. This was my first week with the group and I really enjoyed it. I wish every challenge in life was this delicious!

slush said...

I was iffy on this one, but I eventually came around. Your photos are fabulous. They show off the apples perfectly. Great job!

Joy the Baker said...

I really like the browned top. It's gorgeous! Your photographs look great!

Anonymous said...

Yours set up so nicely! It's a very tempting pic.

Judy said...

Your apples show up so nicely. Looks delicious.

Dianne's Dishes said...

The apples throughout your cheesecake look fabulous! Good work! :)

Jhianna said...

Gorgeous looking cheesecake! Your apples came out so clear.

Engineer Baker said...

Even if you don't love cheesecake, you have to love how it looks! The huge chunks of apples in there look amazingly good.

MrsPresley said...

i'm glad you enjoyed this even though you don't really like cheesecake :) but yours turned out just like i like mine - loaded with apples!

Peabody said...

I would make this cheesecake again too. Great job.

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