Sometimes you get an idea so brilliant, so out of this world, that you just HAVE to make it a reality. “Apple pie, but on a cheesecake,” you think. “Apple pie cheesecake. Wow. I should make this happen.”
And then you do.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I brought world peace by bringing this into the world, and I definitely don’t think I was the first to do this. But am I proud of myself for coming up with what I think is the epitome of autumn desserts, and creating it from my own imagination.
It all started when I saw Apple Pie Oreos at the grocery store. I’m a little bit of a junkie for limited-edition Oreo flavors, and I always make it a point to try them when they come out. Even the truly, truly awful ones like Swedish Fish get a taste test from me. So when I saw them, I obviously had to try them; and I was hooked. They tasted JUST like an apple pie in a cookie form! Now I don’t make cheesecake an awful lot, but when I do I try to make the crust with Oreos. So I thought, “What if I made a cheesecake that tasted like this, with these as the base?”
And thus this apple pie cheesecake was born.
Now, I’m a bit late in getting this post out because life has gotten really hectic lately, so you may not be able to find Apple Pie Oreos in the store anymore. Never fear! This recipe will work equally well with Golden Oreos or graham crackers, because a lot of the apple pie flavor comes from the toppings. Homemade caramel sauce and fried apples take this dessert to the next level, making it a hybrid between a typical cheesecake and America’s favorite pie.
If you choose to try this apple pie cheesecake out, make sure you check out the notes in the recipe! Caramel sauce is notoriously difficult to make, as is cheesecake itself. It takes a lot of patience, and may require you make it a day ahead of the event you’re bringing it to. Which means if you want to try it for Thanksgiving, you should start….now.
Yeah, I wasn’t kidding about being late on posting this recipe.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I do have a lot of exciting things coming and I’m going to make a commitment to focus as hard on my blog as I do my other projects (including my photography business – shameless plug)! I’ve even got something coming up in December in conjunction with a lot of other local Kentucky bloggers. So stay tuned for what’s to come as we roll into the holiday season full swing!
Peace & Blessings. xx
Apple Pie Cheesecake
For the crust
- 1 package Apple Pie Oreos (can substitute with regular Golden Oreos or graham crackers)
- 1/3 cup butter (melted)
For the cheesecake
- 3 8-oz packages cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
For the caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter (cubed)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the apple topping
- 3-4 green apples (cored and sliced)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- dash nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and start with the crust. Using a food processor or blender, crush the Oreos or graham crackers to a crumb. Add the melted butter and stir to combine into a paste. Press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9" springform pan (use a spoon to press it in for a smoother finish). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool and lower the oven to 325 degrees F.
For the cheesecake
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar on high until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Add the vanilla and mix until combined, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low until combined after each one. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the Greek yogurt until everything has come together smoothly.
- Pour the batter into the prepared crust in the springform pan and bake at 325 for about an hour, until the edges are slightly brown and the middle is set. Turn off the oven and leave it in there (DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR) for another 1-2 hours. At this point, if you have a cracked top, don't worry about it. We'll smother it in goodness later to hide that lil mishap.
For the caramel sauce
- Pop the cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered, to cool for about 4 hours. When you're ready to make the toppings, get all the caramel sauce ingredients prepared. This means having the butter and cream measured and ready to grab and go, because you won't have time to look for it when you need it.
- Get out a heavy-bottomed metal (not nonstick; see the notes for tips on caramel) saucepan and set the water and sugar on a medium-high heat. Literally don't stir the sugar at all, just let it melt and dissolve by itself. You can swill the saucepan around a bit to distribute the sugar and make sure none is burning, but DO NOT STIR. Trust me.
- When the sugar is melted and is a nice, rich amber color (this takes about 15-20 minutes of careful pan watching), quickly add the butter, stirring constantly to melt. Be absolutely careful as things will splash and froth and molten sugar is a billion times hotter than boiling water. Once the butter is melted, take it off the heat and wait five seconds before dumping the cream in (again, BE CAREFUL). Stir well until the sauce is thick and well combined, then set aside to cool.
For the fried apples
- Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine before adding the apples. Cook the apples until they soften and soak up all the delicious butter (about 10 minutes). They'll become a great yellowy color, which means they've officially lost all nutritional value and are able to go on top of the fat-and-sugar bomb that is a cheesecake. To assemble said cheesecake, remove it from the fridge once it's chilled and pour the caramel sauce on top. This should cover any cracks that may have appeared during the baking or cooling process. Arrange the apples on top, then run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake before taking the springform side off. Slice and enjoy!
- Cheesecake is notorious for taking a long time to make, but it's so worth it. Crushing Oreos in a blender is a pain in the butt, so add more to the prep time if you're using that method rather than a food processor. If you have anger issues, you could also put them in a plastic bag and bash the heck out of them with a rolling pin. It's up to you.
- Caramel is SO. HARD. to master. Seriously, leave yourself some time for a few attempts. I got it in one try, but if you've ever seen The Great British Bake-off, you know that it's not that easy.
- Try to use a metal pan instead of nonstick, because molten sugar is hotter than boiling water and can damage some nonstick surfaces, leading to teflon flakes in your caramel sauce. Yum.
- Make sure there are no impurities in the pan, including fat, dirt, dust, or remnants of other food. The smallest drop of butter in the pan before the sugar is done melting can ruin it.
- The time frame between "I see a little brown" and "Oh my god I just burned this caramel" is SO small. Sugar takes forever to melt but once it does, it MELTS, baby. Watch the pot constantly to see when it starts to brown, then take it off the heat once the whole pot is a nice amber color. Leave it to darken for too long, and your caramel will be bitter and gross.
- Yeah, we get it, cheesecake is rich and unhealthy and you want to cut calories wherever you can. But whatever you do, do NOT use anything less than full-fat for the yogurt or the cream cheese. Fat is what gives the cheesecake a nice strong, rich texture. Anything less will taste a little...off. I promise.
- Finally, the inspiration for the cheesecake, sauce, and apples can be found at these links. Despite the fact that I'm proud of myself for crafting this from my own imagination, all technical inspiration has to come from somewhere. Cite your sources, kids!