This my basic, and much loved, cheesecake recipe. I wanted to tweak this recipe to make a cheesecake to compliment the fall season, so I decided on an apple and caramel topping.
- springform pan
- pastry cutter
- dry measuring cups
- liquid measuring cup
- large bowl
- 2 small bowls
- large spoon
- paring knife
- microwave or double boiler
- rubber scraper
- stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer
- 1 3/4 graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/4 sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Sour Cream Topping:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Apple Caramel Topping:
- 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
- 1 green apple
- 1 red apple
- 10 unwrapped caramels
- 1/4 cup chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts
To get started first gather all your tools and ingredients and pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The butter and cream cheese should be allowed to come to room temperature.
To make the crust, first measure out the graham cracker crumbs into a larger bowl then add the butter. Use a pastry cutter to break up the butter to mix it into the graham cracker crumbs. Continue until the mixture is consistent throughout.
Place the graham cracker mixture into the springform pan and spread evenly. Press down gently to form the crust. You want to build up the crust on the edges, do this by using your index finger as a guide to build the crust up slightly around the outside of the pan.
To make the cheesecake mixture, start by placing the cream cheese in the mixer bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth. Next, add the eggs one at a time while you continue to beat the mixture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding the sugar and vanilla so that it incorporates properly. Add the vanilla and sugar and mix until completely combined. The mixture should have a very creamy and smooth consistency.
Pour mixture over the crust and then bake at 300 degrees for one hour.
After the cheesecake is done baking turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes is up, remove the cheesecake from the oven and prepare sour cream mixture. Mix the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread over the top of the cheesecake.
Refrigerate to chill 30 minutes before adding the topping. At the 30 minute mark start preparing your topping. Prep a small bowl of lemon or lime juice to coat your apple slices so they do not turn brown. Slice one green and one red apple very thinly, immediately coating all slices with lemon juice.
Take your cheesecake out of the fridge. Before placing the apple slices on the cheesecake, blot them slightly with a paper towel, just enough to absorb the extra liquid, you don’t want to dry out the slices!
Start by layering the apple slices facing in the same direction, alternating red and green. Repeat with inner circle, layering the apples in the opposite direction. The the inner most ring cut the apples in half and bring the ends together in the middle and place a couple slices on top. Be creative with your design if you like!
Melt the caramels in a small bowl with about 1/2 teaspoon of water. You can use a microwave or double boiler. When the caramel is completely melted use a spoon to dip into the caramel to drizzle over the cheesecake. If you prefer to use a pastry bag to drizzle, be very careful because the caramel is very hot! Work quickly and use as much or as little caramel to your taste!
Refrigerate the cheesecake until its time for dessert! Before serving sprinkle with chopped roasted peanuts.
Here are some other ideas:
- For even more apple flavor, layer some thinly sliced apples on top of the crust before pouring the cheesecake mixture over it.
- Instead of using apples, use pears instead or combine apples and pears together!
- Don’t like peanuts? Give your topping a light sprinkling of cinnamon instead!