Cheesecake is such a versatile dessert that you can customize very easily to any season. I used thinly sliced apples for this recipe and a homemade caramel sauce, although you could easily buy a quality ready made one if you would like.  I use a firm tart apple like Envy, and I love to keep the peel on for a hint of color. I have found that making sure all the ingredients for the cheesecake are at room temperature helps guarantee that the cheesecake cooks evenly and resists the tendency of cracking during the baking process.  The cheesecake can be made a day ahead and in fact, it is actually better that way.  I love the cinnamon flavor and crispy texture of the biscoff cookies that are perfect with the apples. If you cannot find the biscoff cookies, you could opt for the traditional graham cracker crust, or even gingersnaps.

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Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients:

for crust:

  • 2 1/2  cups Biscoff cookie crumbs (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for cheesecake:

  • (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • large eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (I love Penzey’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

for apple topping:

  • 3/4 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • apples, quartered and cored and thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick)

 

Directions:

for crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pulse biscoff cookies and sugar in the food processor until pulsed into fine crumbs and pulse in melted butter until well combined.  Using a 9 inch springform pan, press mixture into bottom and 2/3 of the way up the sides of your pan.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until crust is firm and set.  Remove from oven and into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate cool completely on a wire rack.  Reduce oven to 325.

for caramel:

In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is clear and sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook, swirling the pan to cook evenly until caramelized the mixture is deep amber in color. Take the pan off the heat and carefully add the butter and cream whisking until smooth as you transfer Return the sauce to back the heat and bringing to a boil once again for an additional minute or so. Let cool slightly. (Caramel can be made ahead and stored in fridge covered once cooled and reheated slowly when ready to use).

for cheesecake:

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down sides as needed. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla and mix on low, until combined but do not over mix. Next add flour and salt and mix until incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Wrap the bottom of your pan in aluminum foil and place in a large roasting pan. Pour warm water about halfway up the sides of springform pan and transfer to oven. Bake until center of cheesecake only slightly jiggles, about 1 hour, checking at about 50 minutes. Remove form oven and allow to cool, removing cheesecake from foil and roasting pan when cool enough to handle. Allow cheesecake to cool completely before refrigerating for at least 5 hours or overnight.

for topping:

In a large skillet over medium heat, dissolve sugar in apple cider, and cinnamon until reduced slightly (a few minutes). Stir in butter, salt and vanilla and add prepared apple slices, basting slices in syrup until tender (about 5 minutes). Allow to cool slightly and then fan apple slices in concentric circles on cheesecake.

Serve cheesecake with warm caramel sauce drizzled on top. Enjoy!