If you like apple pie, cheesecake, and creme brulee, this is pretty much your dream dessert. My friend Brigitte loves all 3, so it seemed like the perfect thing to make for her 28th birthday. I just wish it were more photogenic.
This was only my second attempt at making brulee anything, and I think I definitely still need some practice. I will probably double the amount of sugar I sprinkle over the cake next time, because to me it was a little spotty (the recipe below indicates what I think would work best). If you’ve never used a kitchen torch it is SO MUCH FUN, but takes a lot longer than I was expecting it to.
I also made a ground-breaking, world-rocking, earth-shattering discovery on e-how. My cheesecake came out of the oven looking beautiful and perfect, but after cooling it developed a gigantic crack in the middle. I was pretty bummed and was planning to just cover the whole thing with whipped cream and forgo the brulee, until I decided to google “how to fix a cracked cheesecake.” A video on e-how showed a chef dipping a knife in hot water, wiping it dry, then spreading the cheesecake to fill the crack. I tried it, and it worked PERFECTLY. Ideally, my next cheesecake won’t crack in the first place, but if it does, I’ll be ready to deal with it.
(from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 tbsp corn starch
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp sugar
Position your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
To make the apple layer, cut the apples into 1/4″ slices. Toss with the lemon juice.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet and add the apples once the butter has melted. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, then sprinkle with sugar and cook another 5-7 minutes, then add the cream and cook until the apples are soft (but still intact). Set aside to cool.
To make the crust, combine the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and press into a greased 9″ springform pan. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Once the apples and crust are cool, layer the apples evenly over the crust, then proceed with the cheesecake.
Lower the oven temperature to 300 F.
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium until nice and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar graduall, mixing on medium until well blended. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, sour cream, and cornstarch, mixing until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each is added.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the apples and set on the upper rack of the oven. Fill a roasting pan with water and set that on the lower rack.
Bake the cheesecake for about 75 minutes, or until the outside is set but the center is still slightly underdone (it will firm up as it cools). Remove to cool on a wire rack.
Once the cheesecake is completely cool, run a knife around the outside then carefully release the sides of the pan. (If it’s cracked, now is a perfect time to try the warm knife trick) Transfer the cake, still on the bottom of the pan, to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of four hours.
To make the brulee topping, evenly sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Heat with a ktichen torch until browned and bubbly.