Toffee Apple Cheesecake
1-1/4 cups finely chopped toasted walnuts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed; or 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed, plus 1/4 cup apple brandy
1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled apple
1 or 2 medium apples, such as Jonathan or Golden Delicious, cored and cut into thin slices
1/4 cup caramel ice-cream topping
White Chocolate Leaves (optional)
Apple Rose (optional)
For crust, combine chopped walnuts and flour. Stir in melted butter.
Press onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of an ungreased 8- or 9-inch springform pan.
Set pan aside.
For filling, in large mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy.
Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk.
Add juice concentrate and eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
Stir in finely chopped apple.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan.
Place in a shallow baking pan in oven.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven 45 to 50 minutes for the 8-inch pan, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool for 30 minutes more.
Remove sides of pan; cool 1 hour.
In a medium skillet poach apple slices in a small amount of boiling water for 1 minute or until softened; drain.
Cover; chill cheesecake and apples separately at least 4 hours.
To serve, arrange apple slices atop cheesecake. Drizzle with warm caramel topping.
If desired, garnish with White Chocolate Leaves and an Apple Rose.
White Chocolate Leaves:
Melt 6 ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly; cool.
Stir in 3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup. Turn mixture out onto a large sheet of waxed paper.
Let stand at room temperature for 3 to 24 hours or until dry to the touch.
Gently knead for 10 to 15 strokes or until mixture is smooth and pliable.
If mixture is too soft, chill in the refrigerator about 15 minutes or until easy to handle (or knead in enough powdered sugar to stiffen the mixture). Store any unused mixture in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks (mixture will stiffen with storage; before using, knead mixture until it is pliable). Flatten mixture slightly; place between 2 sheets of waxed paper dusted with powdered sugar. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Using leaf-shaped cutters or a knife, cut into shapes. Use a wooden toothpick to draw veins on leaves. Curve leaves as desired.
Apple Rose: Starting at the tip of an unpeeled, extra-thin fresh apple slice, roll up diagonally to form a cone shape for the rose center. Press on additional slices, curving around center to make thin petals. Add enough of these thin petals to make a rose.
Tip: There is a misconception surrounding the cheesecake - that it’s tricky and temperamental. Here are a few tips to dispel those rumors and ensure success:
Let your ingredients stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. This eases the mixing process.
Blend cheese and sugar thoroughly before adding anything else; once the batter thins, it is difficult to smooth out the lumps.
Avoid overbeating, especially after adding the eggs. Overbeating incorporates too much air, causing the cake to puff, then fall and crack.
Don’t overbake. An overbaked cheesecake is a dry and cracked cheesecake, so check it at the minimum baking time. The cheesecake is done when the center appears nearly set. A 1-inch area at its center will jiggle slightly when the cheesecake is done (it will firm up as the cake cools). Don’t do a knife or toothpick test in the cake’s center - it makes a crack. And if there is sour cream in the batter, the knife won’t come out clean even when the cheesecake is done.
Set a timer for the exact cooling time given in the recipe. When it rings, carefully loosen the crust of the cheesecake from the pan. If you wait, the cheesecake may begin pulling away from the sides and crack
Prep: 45 minutes
Chill: 4 hours
Bake: 45 minutes
Cool: 1-3/4 hours
Stand: 1-3/4 hours
Pairs Well With
This cheesecake has a few surprise ingredients, but makes a gorgeous presentation for a holiday table.