A few years ago, Ben and I lived in China for a few months. And we happened to be living there during fall. China was totally awesome, by the way, but I really, really missed American food while we were there. Especially because, as the weather turned, I kept missing things like pumpkin bread and apple cider. Things that scream FALL.
I didn’t know about this Caramel Apple Cheesecake back then, and that’s a good thing because it would’ve just been added to my list of Fall Foods I Really Miss.
But now I DO know about this pie and I can’t go too long without making it. It is the stuff dreams are made of. And, not to worry, the pie is good any time of year! It’s cool so it’d truthfully be a great summertime treat, but I also think it’d be a very impressive addition to a Thanksgiving pie spread.
Maybe I’m biased because I am an unabashed caramel lover, but this pie is just about as perfect as food can be. The caramel kind of infuses its way into the crust creating a soft crunch. The spiced apples are tender and flavorful. And the cheesecake layer keeps things from getting too sweet. Mmmmm.
My point is, make this pie!!!! You will not regret it!
There are a lot of components to this pie and, in many cases, you can opt for a pre-made (store bought) version which takes out some of the labor. I honestly think that if you went the store bought route, you’d still come up with something totally impressive and delicious. I’ve only ever made each part of the pie and the effot absolutely pays off every time.
Also, I adapted this recipe slightly from the Brown Eyed Baker (who is one of my very favorite food bloggers-all her stuff is SO good! And her pictures are amazing). The main change I make is that I halve her apple layer because I don’t have a springform pan, but Ben and I agreed that the ratios in this version are spot on.
I said there are lots of layers…but don’t get overwhelmed. It’s really very simple.
First, press your crust into a 9 inch pie plate.
Pour your caramel into the crust.
Add your chopped nuts.
Then spoon on your apple mixture as evenly as you can.
The cream cheese mixture goes on next. Then the pie goes into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.
Right before serving, top with whipped cream, drizzle with extra caramel, and sprinkle with nuts.
Yes…lots of layers…but every layer is totally delicious and worth the time.
Here’s the recipe (and here’s a link for you to print it out):
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
For the Crust:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 Tablespoons melted butter
For the Caramel and Nuts:
¾ cup caramel sauce
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
For the Apples:
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
For the Cheesecake:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Chopped walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Make the Crust: Mix all the ingredients together and press into a 9 inch pie plate, allowing the crumbs to come about halfway up the side of the pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the crust just starts to golden. Let cool for about 10 minutes before adding the next layer.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350º.
- Pour the ¾ cup caramel sauce over the bottom of the crust (warm up your caramel just a bit if it’s store bought, so that it will spread easier). Sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly over the top. Set aside.
- For the Apples: Melt the butter in a skillet pan over medium low heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir. Let the apples cook until they are very tender and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. When they are done, let the mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes then carefully spoon the apples and any remaining liquid on top of the caramel/nuts.
- For the Cheesecake: Beat all the ingredients together until they are well combined. Pour the mixture on top of the apples, making sure it is as even as possible.
- Bake the pie: Bake the pie at 350º for about 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set and doesn’t jiggle in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool until it comes to room temperature. Then cover the pie and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Before serving, top the pie with sweetened whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
-You could potentially use a store bought crust, caramel sauce, and perhaps even whipped topping to make the assembly a little easier.
-I always make my own caramel sauce, and while I’ve tried to make true caramel sauce, it never comes out just right. So I normally opt for an easy caramel sauce. I’ve used the Pioneer Woman’s with success (and it makes extra for the topping), although just googling “easy caramel sauce” comes up with plenty of recipes, so you could find one that suits what you have on hand or that could be made in the microwave.
-For the sweetened whipped cream, I whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, and then I add maple syrup to taste (just do about a teaspoon at a time) and continue whipping until the peaks become firm. You can sweeten with whatever you want/have on hand, but I like the maple flavor-it goes great with the apples!
-I’ve made this recipe as cupcakes and they turn out great! Just reduce the crust proportions to 1 cup graham cracker crumbs and ¼ cup of butter (cinnamon and sugar remain the same). For assembling the cupcakes, press 1 heaping Tablespoon of the crust into the cupcake liner, add the caramel, the nuts, the apples and 1 heaping Tablespoon of the cheesecake mixture per cupcake. Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes.
-I’ve doubled the recipe to fit in a 9×13 pan, which also turned out great.