Apple Cider Cheesecake with Salted Caramel and Baked Apples

  

Being that I’m working Christmas this year, my mom was kind enough to do most of the cooking and baking this Thanksgiving. Knowing that I wouldn’t be in the kitchen all day allowed me to be super relaxed and visit with as many family members as possible. However, knowing that I couldn’t show up completely empty-handed, I wanted to create a really special dessert.

While pumpkin pie and applie pie are quintessential Thanksgiving desserts, family members have already claimed them as their signature dishes. Thus, I wanted to bring something that we all know and love, but that isn’t part of our usual spread – cheesecake. Wanting to use the apple cider that I had on hand, I soon envisioned an apple cider cheesecake. Of course, I didn’t stop there and threw salted caramel and baked apples into the mix. 

Well, given the reactions of my family – especially my little brother – I’d say it was a hit. As expected, the flavors complemented each other extremely well. The salted caramel kept it from being overwhelmingly sweet, and the cheesecake itself was perfectly dense. In my humble opinion, this is the ultimate fall cheesecake and is certainly a dessert to impress. 

Note: The salted caramel recipe yields 2 cups, or enough to fill a pint jar. For the purposes of this recipe, you’ll need only 1 cup, but trust me, you’ll want extra. Both the salted caramel and the baked apples can be prepped up to 2 days in advance and should be stored in the refrigerator until ready for use. The cheesecake can be assembled several hours prior to being served, but it should be stored in the refrigerator until just prior to serving. 

Part 1: Salted Caramel

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

What you’ll do:

  • Combine sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil for approximately 5 minutes
  • Remove mixture from heat and whisk in the cream, followed by the butter and salt
  • Allow to cool, and transfer to a mason jar

   

Part 2: Baked Apples

What you’ll need:

  • 4 baking apples, peeled and sliced (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. filtered water
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

What you’ll do:

  • Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl; toss the apples in the mixture
  • Over medium heat, combine the water and butter in a saucepan and allow to melt; add the apple mixture and cook for approximately 8 minutes, or until tender

Part 3: Graham Cracker Crust

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups graham crackers, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Coconut oil spray

What you’ll do:

  • Generously spray a pie dish with coconut oil
  • Combine the graham crackers, cinnamon, and butter in a mixing bowl; once combined, pour the mixture into the pie dish, and press it into the base and the sides of the dish
  • Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes

  

Part 4: Apple Cider Cheesecake Filling

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cage-free eggs
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the oven to 325ยฐF
  • Add apple cider to a saucepan and bring to a boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until reduced down to 1/2 cup
  • Meanwhile, add cream cheese to a mixing bowl; beat with a handheld mixer on low speed for approximately 1 minute, or until smooth
  • Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition
  • Next, add the sugar and beat for approximately 2 minutes, or until creamy
  • Lastly, add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and reduced apple cider, and beat until just combined
  • Pour the mixture atop the graham cracker crust, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake for approximately 45 minutes
  • When baking is complete, allow to cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, and allow to chill in the fridge, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours

Part 5: Assembly

What you’ll need:

  • Prepped cheesecake
  • 1 cup salted caramel
  • Prepped apples

What you’ll do: 

  • Once the cheesecake has chilled, pour a layer of salted caramel overtop; be sure to leave a 1 inch border between the crust and where the layer of caramel begins
  • To create a floral design with the apples, place the apples on top of the outermost portion of the caramel layer, facing the rounded edges outward; work in a spiral pattern, overlapping the apples as you go, until the centermost portion of the cheesecake is reached

  

3 thoughts on “Apple Cider Cheesecake with Salted Caramel and Baked Apples

  1. Mom says:

    This was a great addition to our Thanksgiving dinner Lauren! As usual, you come up with something unique to add to the festivities. The cheesecake was delicious, but I have to admit I could easily have eaten the salted caramel and apples by themselves for sure! It was great to have you home!

  2. Dan says:

    This cheesecake was soooo freakin good!! I wish my only chance to have a slice wasn’t after I completely stuffed myself with turkeyday dinner!! I would have eaten the whole cake!! And Chris, my challenge to wrestle for the remaining salted Caramel drizzle still stands!! I want ittt๐Ÿ˜–

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