Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TWD: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

For my second Tuesday with Dorie, the pick was Traditional Madelines. I guess these are a French cookie-type dessert, and to make it you need a special pan. It was a good thing for me (and my budget) when it was announced that if you didn't have a pan you could go back and pick any of the previous week entries that you had missed...which for me is a lot, since I just joined the group last week. After looking through the many recipes I decided on this Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, which was fabulous. I had a guest baker, Kelly, which made making it even more enjoyable because we chatted and drank wine as we baked away. The only bad thing about this dessert is it takes forever to cook, and then to cool and chill, so after all that work yesterday I just got to taste it this afternoon. But it was worth the wait!

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, from Dorie Greenspan

For the Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths(I used Fuji)
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature (I used 2 regular and 1 light)
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider (I used 2 tbsp. apple juice because I couldn't find cider)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (oops! ran out so only used 1 tbsp.)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Caramel to drizzle on top

To Make the Crust: Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan.

Put the graham cracker crumbs in the food processor. Pulse in the sugar, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they’ll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center–if the center shimmies, that’s just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan’s latch and release and remove the sides.

Kelly and I making the cheesecake...check out her blog here

Love the apples in the middle of the cheesecake

That's a whole lot of cheesecake to eat!


Rebecca said...

Ooh, that looks great! Recipes that make you wait drive me crazy, but that cheesecake looks totally worth it. Yum!

Engineer Baker said...

Good choice! This is one my coworkers asked me to make again and again.

Dianne said...

Your cheesecake looks fabulous! I really liked this recipe too.

Tracey said...

Wow, that looks really tasty! I need to make a note to myself to go back and make that recipe sometime!

Cheryl said...

That looks sooo good! And looks like you guys had fun cooking together, too. : ) I joined TWD after this one, so I haven't made it yet.

CB said...

Definitely have this on my must-bake list too! Great pick!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Christine said...

How nice it is to have someone to bake with and drink wine! Your cheesecake looks amazing! Good job!

Melissa said...

I'm drooling!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Yummy! I haven't tasted this and would love to make it sometime soon. Yours looks terrific!

Jayne said...

Oh, my, that really looks GOOD. I have to make that now. Beautiful job!

Garrett said...

Oh wow, that looks delicious. Did you get to have any of the peanut butter torte that Kelly made? Sounds like a good way to dessert overdose.

mimi said...

how nice to have a friend to bake with too! the cheesecake looks good, even if i'm a traditionalist when it comes to the cheesecake dept!

Aardvark Cakes said...

Looks great - all the best baking should be done over a glass or two of wine! Hx

Jacque said...

mmmmm, that sounds heavenly! Nice job.

rainbowbrown said...

That sound so yummy. How fun that you had someone to bake with.

Cecilia said...

Your cheesecake looks delicious! I have to try this recipe soon, but I'm not patient when it comes to baking...I applaud your patience.

Jaime said...

yum! it looks perfect! and you picked my recipe pick! :) glad you enjoyed it

LyB said...

That is one great looking cheesecake! So many Dorie recipes, so little time!