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Author Notes: The name might be a little misleading in that there isn't any actual apple in the cheesecake itself. The cheesecake is made with an abundance apple pie spices and chunks of pie crust, but otherwise is heavily inspired by smitten kitchen's extra tall New York cheesecake. That alone would make it an incredibly awesome fall cheesecake. But when you pile what is essentially the inside of the very best apple pie on top of that masterpiece of a cheesecake, the result is not one you want to miss. Don't underestimate this beast though. It's a lot of ingredients and a lot of time. But it's absolutely, positively worth it. —Taylor Ayral
- 1 9" pie crust dough, frozen or homemade
- 1/2 pound ginger snap cookies, plain
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon clove
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 40 ounces regular cream cheese, room temperature (that's 5 standard blocks)
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 F, place a rack in the center of the oven. If using frozen pie dough, allow to defrost according to manufacturer's instructions. If using homemade, roll out the dough into ~12" round, like you would if you were making an actual pie
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pie crust flat on the pan. Using a fork, dock the dough to prevent puffing up. Bake until golden brown and no longer flexible. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, use a food processor to grind the ginger snap cookies into crumbs. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add the melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp clove, and kosher salt. Combine thoroughly.
- Transfer the crumb crust mixture into the bottom of a 10" springform pan. Use the bottom of a heavy glass to compact the crust into the pan, forming a 1/2 inch ridge along the edge of the pan. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil to avoid leaks, and store in the refrigerator while you make the cheesecake filling.
- Increase the oven temperature to 450 F.
- Add the room temperature cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle mixer attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the remaining 1 & 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix until everything has combined. (IMPORTANT: this is not like a cookie recipe, where the goal is to cream the butter and sugar to create lots of microscopic bubbles. Our cheesecake is dense, and we want to avoid adding air whenever possible. So use low speeds on your mixer throughout the entire process).
- Slowly add the flour and corn starch, as well as the remaining 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp clove, and 1/8 tsp ground ginger. Mix until combined.
- Still on low, add the eggs and yolks one at a time. Don't add the next egg until the previous one is entirely incorporated. Stop the mixer to scrape down the attachment, and side and bottom of the bowl two or three time during this process. Add the vanilla, and mix until it's all combined.
- Break up the cooled pie crust into ~1/2 inch chunks. Use a spatula to fold in about 3/4 of the chunks. Reserve the rest for (optional) topping.
- Take the prepared pan from the refrigerator and pour in the filling, making sure to leave at least at least a 1/4 inch of room from the top of the pan. Bang the filled pan on the countertop a few times to pop any large bubbles, and use a finger or a skewer to pop any bubbles that you can see at the top.
- Move the springform pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, deep enough for a water bath. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Immediately before putting the cheesecake in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 200 F. With the oven door open, place the roasting pan (with the cheesecake inside) on a rack in the center of the oven. Pour the hot water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Close the door, and bake at 200 F until the edges are mostly firm, but the center is still wobbly, about 60-70 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, shoot for around 148 F. Turn off the oven and open the door for 3 minutes to allow most of the heat to escape. Close the door and allow the cheesecake to rest in the cooling oven for one hour.
- Remove the cake from the oven and water bath, and allow to come to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator over night.
- Before topping with the apples, slice into 12 even slices.
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 large apples (granny smith, pink lady, and/or rome)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 tablespoon Calvados, brandy, or cognac (optional)
- Peel and core the apples and chop into ~1/2 inch cubes.
- Combine all the ingredients except for the Calvados in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Lower heat to low/medium-low so that there is still light bubbling along the sides of the pan.
- Cook until apples are softened but haven't completely dissolved, and they've taken on the color of applesauce, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Use the room temperature apple compote to cover the top of the cooled and pre-sliced cheesecake. Go as thick as you want, but I suggest about a 1/2-inch thick layer of apples on top. Store in the refrigerator.
- Serve topped with whipped cream, the leftover pie crust pieces, with vanilla ice cream... or just as it is.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Mash-Up Recipe