Apple Almond Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pkg. (7 oz.) almond paste, crumbled
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons sugar
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup Applejack brandy (see note)
Crust: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 10-inch springform pan. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, melted butter, brown sugar and salt until mixed. Pour into springform pan and press mixture onto bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes and cool.
Filling: In food processor, pulse the almond paste, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time until just blended. Pour filling into prepared crust; bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325ºF and bake another 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool; refrigerate overnight.
Topping: Toss apple slices with lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apples and sauté until golden and tender. Sprinkle with brown sugar and
cinnamon; stir in brandy and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon butter and stir. Cool to room temperature. Arrange apples in a decorative pattern over cheesecake and drizzle with remaining juices. Cut cheesecake into wedges and serve.
Note: If you cannot find Applejack brandy, simply substitute unflavored brandy.