So you liked the idea of cheesecake for Thanksgiving yesterday, but you want your pumpkin pie more traditional. That’s fine. I can live with that (as long as you use plenty of good spices in your pie; bland pie is bleah). You can also do an apple cheesecake and be just as tasty.
This recipe was modified from Emeril’s Caramelized Apple Cheesecake to use some caramel sauce we’d made, add more spice, and…well, because I mess with recipes.
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
5-1/2 ounces of ginger snaps, reduced to fine crumbs
2 tart, crisp apples (I prefer Haralson) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1.5 cups apple cider
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon
Mix butter and crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Chill while you make the filling.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Poach the apple slices in the cider until flexible, just a few minutes. Set aside to cool.
Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time and fully incorporate before adding the next. Add the spices and beat well. (I like a little air in my cheesecake for added fluffiness.)
Take the crust out of the refrigerator and build a layer of apple slices on the bottom. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Add half the cream cheese mixture. Build a second layer of apple slices and caramel, and add the remaining cream cheese mixture.
At this point, you can add any additional apple slices to the top of the cheesecake, but they will result in cracking. It’s decorative, but it may not suit your cheesecake esthetic.
Bake for 80 to 90 minutes, turning a quarter turn every 30 minutes. When done, it should be only slightly jiggly in the center. The top may get quite brown.
Cool on the counter, then refrigerate. Serve with the caramel sauce.