January 16, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

This cheesecake is rich and creamy, but the real showstopper is the caramel apple topping. If it weren't for my naked cheesecake that needed its topping to be presentable for the office potluck, I might have given in to the temptation to eat the entire pan of apples in warm caramel sauce. 
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. half-and-half
1 3/4 cups thinly sliced peeled apple
Dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400ºF. To prepare crust, combine the crust ingredients together, and toss with a fork until moist. Press mixture lightly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, wrap the outside of the pan with a double layer of foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF.

Combine cheesecake ingredients, except for the eggs, together in a food processor until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and process until blended. Pour cheesecake into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan. Add hot water to the roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake for one hour or until cheesecake center barely moves when the pan is touched. Remove from the oven, and let stand in the water bath 10 minutes. Run a knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake. Remove from the water bath, and cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover, and chill at least 8 hours.

To prepare topping, combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Cook 4 minutes or until golden without stirring. Remove from heat. Add butter, and gently stir until butter melts. Stir in half-and-half. Cool slightly.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add apple to pan, and saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in sugar mixture and nutmeg. Serve topping with cheesecake. Makes 16 servings. 

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