|Maple Apple Cheesecake|
It was a real hearty home cooked Fall season meal of prime rib and roasted potatoes and vegetables that we served, so a apple harvest dessert seemed a good idea to round out the meal. With some maple syrup on hand to sweeten the tart apples, the final result of the topping paired with the creamy vanilla cheesecake was absolutely heavenly.
I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 or 10 inch springform pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil which forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in. The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from 1/2 to 2/3 of the way to the top to create a bain marie (water bath) in which the cheesecake will bake.
I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil. I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe.
Even if you choose not to do the water bath method, please still wrap the pan in layers of aluminum foil to help bake your cheesecake more evenly.
In a small bowl, combine:
- 1 1/3 cups graham wafer crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup melted butter
Press into the bottom of a lightly greased or parchment lined springform pan. (Grease bottom only!)
- 3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
Add, one at a time
- 3 eggs
beating well after each addition. Add
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
Finally blend in
- 1 cup whipping cream
Pour over the prepared base and bake in a bain marie at 300 degrees F for 55 minutes to an hour. The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp knife completely around the edge of the pan. This will allow for the cheesecake to shrink as it cools and hopefully not crack (but who cares if it does? I am never bothered by a crack or two in the surface) Allow the cheesecake to cool thoroughly on a wire rack at room temperature. (NOT in the fridge or it may crack). Store in the fridge only after co4oling completely. Serve with Maple Apple Topping.
Maple Apple Topping
- 6 - 8 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 3 tbsp butter
Saute the apples and butter together in a large non, stick pan, until the apples are fully hot and just begin to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool almost to room temperature. The apples will release some of their juice as they cool. When cooled down, drain the apples in a colander or sieve, reserving the juice. Add the juice to a small saucepan along with:
- 1/ 2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Simmer slowly over low heat until the volume reduces by about half. Watch it carefully, any sugar syrup can foam up and overflow while cooking or it can burn very quickly if left on too long. When it looks syrupy, take it off the heat. Add the apples to the syrup and simmer fro another couple of minutes before allowing it to cool and serving on top of the cheesecake.