The other night I polled my readers, to find out what people thought would taste best with an apple dessert; and honey won. So here is my apple caramel honey cheesecake.
Whew. Try saying that 3 times fast. This sweet number is made from a bed of spiced honey graham crackers, covered in fresh tart apples, homemade caramel sauce, and a cream cheese filling made with honey and applesauce.
I was planning to post this the day after the poll, but hit a minor snag. Well…okay, more of a giant snag. More on that later.
Good to know before you start:
There is a significant time gap between baking the crust, and baking the entire cake, so once the crust is done, shut off the oven, and remember when you turn the oven back on, a lower temperature is used.
Because the crust is chilled before the filling is added, you don’t want to put a cold pan into a hot oven. You will need to either chill the crust and caramel, then let it sit until it reaches room temperature, or transfer the crust into a new pan already at room temp.
Time required: 2 days (4 hrs + overnight chilling)
Yields: 40 pieces
Cost per portion: $1.20
Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $48.00 (sheesh, glad I just needed apples)
Special kitchen implements I used:
- electric mixer
- baking pans: 9″ x 13″ nestled inside a 14.5″ x 10.5″
- tinfoil & plastic wrap
- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1¾ C honey graham cracker crumbs
- ⅛ TSP ground nutmeg
- smidgen of ground cloves
- 2 tart apples, (peeled, cored, minced) ADD AFTER CRUST IS BAKED
- ¾ C dark brown sugar
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter
- ½ TSP ground cinnamon
- ½ C heavy cream
- 4 blocks of cream cheese, softened
- 1¼ C granulated white sugar
- 2 TBSP powdered corn starch
- ¼ C unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 TBSP Billy Bee honey
- ¼ C heavy cream
- 5 eggs, room temp
Step 1 – Use centre rack. Pre-heat oven to 175°C / 350°F.
Step 2 – Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with tinfoil, and grease it. If you turn the pan upside down and wrap the foil around the outside to get the shape this is easier.
Step 3 – In sauce pan on Low, melt butter.
Step 4 – Combine graham cracker crumbs with nutmeg and cloves, and stir into butter.
Step 5 – remove from heat and press into prepared pan.
Bake 10 min AND TURN OFF THE OVEN.
Step 6 – shred or mince the apples
Step 7 – while crust is cooling, mince 2 apples, and spread this directly over the crust. Leave on cooling rack. (There are two different colours here because I did not mince the apples at the same time and one browned a bit.)
Step 8 – in a sauce pan on Medium, melt sugar and butter, whisking often.
Step 9 – When it starts to boil, stir in the cinnamon and remove from heat.
Step 10 – Stir in cream, return to heat until bubbly.
Step 11 – Carefully pour this onto crust, use spoon to spread it to the edges.
Step 12 – Refrigerate at least one hour. (Before this can go in the oven later with the filling, this pan needs to be room temperature so you’ll need to let it sit or transfer to a new pan.)
Step 13 – now pre-heat oven to 150°C / 300°F. Fill kettle and turn on Low, now.
Step 14 – Beat cream cheese on Medium until smooth.
Step 15 – One by one, beat in (and ensure each ingredient is thoroughly blended before adding the next) add: sugar, corn starch, apple sauce honey, and heavy cream.
Step 16 – On Low speed, beat in eggs, one at time, until just blended.
Step 17 – Pour filling onto crust.
Step 18 – Place the pan containing your cake into a larger pan, and fill the large pan with boiling water to form a bain marie.
Step 19 – Bake 65 minutes, it is done when edges are set but centre jiggles. (Do you see that odd colour in the centre? That’s what happens when you scrape the bowl of cream cheese and get the pieces that weren’t properly beaten into your cake. Grrrr.)
Step 20 – Cool on rack at least one hour, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight, before using a hot knife to slice into pieces. (I blotted the top with paper towel as some condensation had developed.)
Verdict: Surely a piece of cheesecake made with real apples must have some tiny health benefit, yes? Loved this.
You know, I am totally over the idea of making cheesecake in a round springform pan. Never again. I get consistently better results when I use a rectangular baking pan.
To create my recipe, I planned a small, round cheesecake, and cut out as much of the eggs and cream cheese as I could, reasoning that since the filling is always quite high, I could probably get rid of 50% of it and still have a tasty cheesecake. Um, no.
The first attempt ended in total disaster. It literally disintegrated in my hands; cracking, deflating, and sliding apart.
This was particularly disappointing because it was the first dessert I made in my new KitchenAid mixer. (Which is a cobalt blue Artisan tilt-head beauty!)
I consulted my cheesecake guru, and she thought the problem might be too much liquid, not enough cream cheese, and not enough time in the oven. I want to be clear: the mixer was not to blame!!
So I went back to the drawing board, played around with my ingredient ratios, tried a different pan, and baked it a little longer. Success, how sweet it is!
I have arrived at a strange point in my life, where kitchen appliances excite me to a level I thought was gone past all recall. Eh. Excuse me, I have to go stare at my beautiful blue mixer for awhile.
Playlist: Labyrinth soundtrack