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February 12, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Tuesday's With Dorie: Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Last week I found out that there was a group that was baking their way through Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home Yours and I was ready to jump on board! The group is called "Tuesday's With Dorie" and what's not to like? I immediately sent an e-mail and joined up!

This week's recipe was chosen by Jaime of Good Eats n’ Sweet Treats and is the Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake and those of you who have read Dianne's Dishes before know that cheesecake is one of my all time favorite foods ever so I was more than thrilled that this was the first recipe after joining the group and let me tell you this cheesecake did not disappoint! I actually baked the recipe in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish making cheesecake bars instead of using a springform pan as the recipe called for because it made it much easier for Jamison to take to work with him and share with his co-workers. I was a bit worried that it might not work out, but it did and the end result was delicious!

This cake utilizes actual apples, along with apple cider and the flavors meld together so well. The apples throughout the cake were also a very nice element, in both taste and overall visual appeal. This is most definitely a cheesecake I will make again! The directions below are for the springform pan, but if you want to bake it in a 13 X 9 inch dish use the same directions. I followed them to the letter just using the different pan and not using a water bath.

What You'll Need for the Crust:
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

What You'll Need for the Apples:
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths (Note: Since I made the cake in a 13 X 9 dish instead of a springform pan I cut the apples into a few more pieces so they would be throughout the dish.)
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

What You'll Need for the Filling:
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream

Apple jelly, for glazing, or confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

To Make the Crust: Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.

Notes: I topped the piece of cheesecake that I ate with Apple Cider Whipped Cream. To make this add 1/4 of a cup of apple cider to 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with a few tablespoons of sugar. This cheesecake would also be very good topped with a caramel sauce.

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids in the Kitchen!

P.S. Don't forget Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids In The Kitchen for your chance to win one Pampered Chef "My Safe Cutter" along with one Pampered Chef "Kid's Apron and Chef's Hat Set"! Just leave a comment on this thread with a valid e-mail address (and don't worry, no one will see your e-mail address but me!) before 5:00 PM EST, Thursday, February 14, 2008. I'll print out the participants and my little sous chef will pull a name out of the hat. I'll e-mail that person for their address and announce the winner on Friday, February 15, 2008! Anyone anywhere on our little planet earth is eligible to enter so what are you waiting for?

Good luck! Oh and tell your friends! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at February 12, 2008 7:41 AM

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I am so glad that you joined us! I love the apple cider whipped cream topping!

Posted by: April at February 12, 2008 9:04 AM

Your bars look lovely, and I think that was a fantastic idea! Much better for storage in the freezer, too!

Posted by: Michelle at February 12, 2008 9:28 AM

Well done!!! Great looking cheesecake. I love the apple cider whipped cream topping! Great idea! This was my first challenge as well and I really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next one

Posted by: Marie at February 12, 2008 9:45 AM

The apple cider whipped cream was really delicious! It was the first time I'd added anything to whipping cream other than vanilla, sugar and/or chocolate. It was just the right compliment for the cake.

The 13 X 9 inch dish worked out well. I was afraid I'd eat it all so I ate one piece and sent the rest to work with Jamison!

I'm looking forward to the next challenge too! Chocolate...Yum!

Posted by: Dianne at February 12, 2008 10:02 AM

I love the bar idea! You guys are so creative. The apple cider whipped cream is a stellar idea too. Great job! So glad you joined us!

Posted by: laurie at February 12, 2008 10:08 AM

The apple cider whipped cream was ingenious :)

Posted by: Shaw at February 12, 2008 10:20 AM

So clever to make it in a 9x13 pan! Looks good.

Posted by: Karen at February 12, 2008 10:21 AM

I made bars too! The whipped cream looks delicious! What a treat!

Posted by: Joy at February 12, 2008 10:43 AM

Apple cider whipped cream sounds amazing!

Posted by: Nicole at February 12, 2008 11:17 AM

This is such a good idea. It would be fun to try this next time, so that D can take them to work. You're look so delicious, and would be just the thing for a nice fall picnic!

Posted by: Lemon Tartlet at February 12, 2008 12:29 PM

I like your creativity, both with the whipped cream and the baking pan. It's a good alternative.

Posted by: Judy at February 12, 2008 1:26 PM

Your cheesecake looks great! I love the whipped topping, that was a great idea!

Posted by: Erin at February 12, 2008 1:27 PM

What a great idea! The cheesecake bars would be so good to take to work or a party. I never would've thought of apple cider whipped cream either, I'm sure that tasted amazing!

Posted by: Lori at February 12, 2008 1:54 PM

When I was making the whipped cream it just popped into my head and I must say I was very pleased with the result! I tried to figure out a way to send some whipped cream with Jamison to work when he took the rest of the bars, but couldn't figure out how to keep it the way it needed to be.

Posted by: Dianne at February 12, 2008 3:37 PM

The bars are a great idea! Much better for a potluck or non-sit down dinner!

Ooooh, apple cider whipped cream! You could try stabilizing that with some unflavored gelatin next time. It keeps really well when I do that.

(I think it's a teaspoon of gelatin disolved in 4 teaspoons of water, let it gel for 5 minutes, then put it over low heat just until it's liquid again, poor into the cream as it's whipping when you add the sugar. Alton Brown has a recipe for whipped cream to ice a cake, and that's what he does.)

Posted by: Jhianna at February 12, 2008 4:00 PM

That's a good one! Thanks for the tip! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at February 12, 2008 5:45 PM

Apple cider whipped cream?!? Brilliant! And such a beautiful cheesecake too :)

Posted by: Caitlin at February 12, 2008 6:52 PM


Posted by: Dianne at February 12, 2008 7:52 PM

great job! i love how you did bars instead of the traditional cake...and the apple cider whipped cream, wow! what a great idea to use up extra cider!! :) glad you joined us!

Posted by: MrsPresley at February 12, 2008 10:22 PM

I like the idea of making the recipe in a 13x9 pan. I bet it was easier to slice things that way. One of the biggest problems I had was trying to make neat slices. I like the apple cider whipped cream idea too--a good way to use up some of the leftover cider. I've put Calvados in whipped cream before, which is also tasty.

Posted by: Di at February 12, 2008 11:05 PM

Good adaptation to make the bars.

Posted by: peabody at February 13, 2008 2:10 AM

I'm glad I joined the group too! My best friend got me Dorie's cookbook for my birthday last October, but I hadn't made anything from it yet. Now I get to try something each week! What's not to like? :o)

Posted by: Dianne at February 13, 2008 8:35 AM

cheesecake bars--that's genius! this recipe is perfect for it, but i never would have thought of it!

Posted by: steph at February 13, 2008 9:19 AM

It made the cake much more portable. I'm glad I joined too! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at February 13, 2008 10:34 AM

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