Apple cheesecake is one of hubby’s and my faves. Recently, I made an apple strudel cheesecake that was amazing. Last year, I made Paula Deen's Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, and they were also delicious. But this adapted Kraft recipe is even better. Adding brown sugar instead of white to the cream cheese gives the cheesecake a mild caramel flavor.
I didn’t care to use Kraft’s graham cracker crust though. Instead, I made my own, a mixture of oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar and butter; and it’s perfect for this cheesecake. Some of the crust mixture is reserved to mix with the apples for the topping.
Kraft’s recipe is made in a 9 x 13 pan; but I opted to cut the recipe in half and make it in an 8” springform pan. You can make it in an 8” square pan if you prefer, or double the recipe and make it in a 9 x 13 pan. The only thing I might change if I make this again is to cook the apples and cool them before topping the cheesecake with them. Cooking apples twice intensifies the flavor and makes such a difference in the end product. But then, one of the things I liked about this recipe is that it’s so easy. Come to think of it, maybe I could give up a more intense apple flavor in favor of simplicity.
Kraft Apple Pecan Cheesecake, Adapted
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Crust + Topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
6 Tbsp. white whole wheat, whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. white sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups chopped peeled apples (I used Pink Lady)
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I used lite)
Heat oven to 325F. In work bowl of food processor, combine oats, flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp. white sugar. Pulse 2-3 times. Add butter and pulse till combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture in small bowl, adding pecans and cinnamon to it – this will be your topping. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of greased 8” springform pan (or 8” square pan). Bake 9-10 minutes, till set, not brown. Cool thoroughly on wire rack. (Place in fridge or freezer for faster cooling, if desired.)
Wipe work bowl with damp paper towel. Combine cheese, brown sugar and vanilla and pulse till well combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing after each addition. Add sour cream and pulse till well mixed. Pour over cooled crust. Carefully spread apples over top of cheesecake. Sprinkle reserved topping mixture over apples. Bake about 50-55 minutes, or till center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. (For an extra-special touch, drizzle caramel topping over each piece of cheesecake.) Yield: about 8 servings