I really love cheesecake. I know, it seems like I really love everything. (Hence, the name of the blog) But it's really serious. I mean, really. I forget many details about my past, but a lot of times food memories stick with me. I remember when I was working, probably 9 or so years ago, eating a caramel apple cheesecake at a restaurant once for lunch. My co-worker and I embarrassed ourselves with pleasure noises while eating dessert that day. We tried to go back, just for the cheesecake, many times and they NEVER had it again. It's been in the back of my mind ever since.
I finally attempted to make one last year for Thanksgiving and was pretty darn happy with the results. Naturally now, I will think of this cheesecake every year at this time. Since I didn't have a food blog last year, I can't tell you exactly how I made it. I do know I used the same cheesecake base because it's my favorite. I think I topped it with the caramel and then a crunchy topping kind of like a toffee and then added white chocolate to the top. This year, I thought I would just use pecans for the crunch since I had some left over from the Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie and I had intentions of using white chocolate only to find I was out. I used melted marshmallows instead and some toasted coconut. Because why? You guessed it, I also love toasted coconut. Much like the caramel apples, I think this one is up to you. I would top it with whatever you would love on a caramel apple. I really don't think you will be disappointed.
I cooked my caramel for a bit too long. You can see in the photos that it's not quite as gooey as I would like (I, of course, still ate it!). So, if you want yours gooey, don't be an airhead and get distracted like I did. ;)Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Filling and crust adapted from:How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food
Graham Cracker Crust
3 cups cinnamon Graham cracker crumbs (if you are grinding them up yourself, that's about 2 of the plastic packages.)
6 T sugar
12 T butter
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
3 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese
1 T flour
2 tsp. vanilla
2 apples, cored, peeled and diced
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens: New Cook Book
¼ cup butter
½ cup + 2 T brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ tsp vanilla
Cook stirring occasionally, until apples are tender.Set a side and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a food processor, combine crust ingredients except for butter. Process 30 seconds,add butter chunks and process until mixture climbs up the bowl.
You can melt the butter and add to the crust instead of using the food processor, it just makes your crust less tender and more dense. Butter the inside of a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan, press crust mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Add egg yolks to mixer
and beat until they turn a light yellow color. They will start to look almost the color of a vanilla pudding. (I think in real life they actually look a bit lighter than the picture below.) It probably takes about 5-10 minutes, be patient)
Once light, add sugar and combine,
add cream cheese, flour and vanilla. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl.Beat whites until soft peaks form,
fold into cream cheese mixture. Fold until just incorporated and then pour into crust and smooth.
Sprinkle apples evenly over the top of the cream cheese filling.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 hours and then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely.
Heat all caramel ingredients except vanilla in saucepan. Bring to slow boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Pour caramel over cheesecake and add desired toppings, pecans, toasted coconut, white chocolate, marshmallow..... Return to refrigerator until ready to use.