Caramel apple cheesecake with crunchy streusel topping is the perfect mix of creamy crunchy, sweet, spiced autumn dessert perfection!
Happy 2014 darlings! I know we technically haven’t entered the new year until midnight, but there’s nothing wrong with a little early celebration, right? And I’m giving you the perfect decadent little dessert recipe for caramel apple cheesecake to enjoy before those resolutions kick in tomorrow. 2013 has been an incredible year, thank you for sharing it with me (all 8 of you who read this blog!).
Tonight, we will celebrate the new year with my parents, who are visiting, in our usual quiet style – tapas, movies, and board games at home. I hope you all enjoy celebrating in your own manner safely with people who make you smile. May the next year be filled with joy, love, blessings, and fulfilled resolutions for those who make them! this!). My “baby”, Goodie Godmother, grew from an idea on a piece of paper to a thriving little business, the Godfather and I found we were going to grow our family by one human child (adding to our fur baby Dolce and my business baby), and the latter part of the year brought news of yet more changes in 2014!
Miss A will be the first major change – she hasn’t come yet for those on baby watch – then my next youngest sister will be celebrating her wedding this summer, and our little clan will be relocating. The Air Force has decided it’s time for us to add a little sparkle someplace new. We’re still here for a few months yet, so don’t panic!
I stopped making resolutions a long time ago for the New Year, but I do take some time to reflect and evaluate choices from time to time, and given the season, one of those times always falls around the New Year. This year, I am choosing to:
- Continue to find the joy in the everyday things
- See the positive aspects of every situation
- Continue to remove unnecessary negativity from my life – people, situations, etc
- Find beauty in the unexpected
- Try to invest more time with those who matter and keeping in touch with friends (I’m awful about it, I’m sorry!)
- Understanding my own limits. I’m very good about working myself to exhaustion behind the scenes. I’m thankful the Godfather is so incredibly supportive, but I want to teach my daughter about balance and I can’t if she doesn’t see it at home first.
- Blog more! It’s embarrassing to see the number of recipes I have photographed and in queue with no posts written for publication.
If you’re up for sharing, I’d love to read your plans for the next year!
And now… the recipe you will “need” for tonight or in a few months when it’s time for a party and sweet indulgence.
- 10 ounces graham cracker crumbs
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 5 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 vanilla beans, scraped
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Streusel Topping Ingredients
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Apple Pie Topping
- 3 Granny Smith Apples
- ½ stick unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (approx the juice of ½ a lemon)
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- Mix the crust ingredients* and press into a 9" springform pan, going up the sides. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil. Set crust aside while you make the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese, sugar, ginger, and vanilla beans in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition, then slowly add the lemon juice and mix until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and place into a water bath. Basically, fill a larger pan with water about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Then, carefully place the whole thing in the oven and shut the door.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then - without opening the oven door - reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 50-60 minutes until the cheesecake is set on top but still jiggles slightly. Don't over bake.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door open and leave the cheesecake be for 30 minutes, then remove from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool for an additional 30, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. You want to bring the temperature down slowly to prevent cracking on your cheesecake's surface. This won't matter so much if you choose to top the cheesecake with the apples, streusel and caramel, but if you leave all parts of the cheesecake separate to be added to individual slices as preferred by those enjoying, you'll want a pretty cheesecake.
While your cheesecake is baking and cooling...Make the apple pie filling:
- Peel and slice the apples while you melt the butter in a large skillet.
- Mix the apples with the sugar, lemon juice, and spices
- Add to skillet and stir occasionally until apples are tender.
- Set aside and use to top cheesecake just before serving. I like to serve the topping warm.
Make the streusel:
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Mix all streusel ingredients in a bowl and arrange in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake 20-30 minutes until crunchy, stirring and checking at the 10 minute, 20 minute, and 25 minute marks to prevent burning.
- You'll want to remove from the oven at a light golden brown. It will get crunchier as it cools.
- Once the streusel is cool, use to top your cheesecake with the apples.
- Drizzle everything with your favorite caramel sauce or make your own using this recipe.
The crust for this recipe may seem a little crumbly, but it will hold together very well after baking.
If you'd like a more firm cheesecake, add 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour to the cheesecake filling. As written, it will look a little more jiggly at the end of the baking time, but as you can see in the photos, sets fully when chilled.