1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for preparing pan
Oat and Walnut Crust:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup walnuts, chopped small
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cream Cheese Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
4 large eggs
2 cups apple juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 or 3 tart baking apples, such as Granny Smith
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9-inch round cheesecake pan or springform pan with 3-inch sides; use a pastry brush to butter the sides and bottom of pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Oat and Walnut Crust:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly.
- Pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet; bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
- When cooled, wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to prepare for the bain marie water bath. The foil is to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake through the pan seams.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream Cheese Filling:
- In a food processor, or mini chopper, or blender, combine ¼ cup granulated sugar and orange zest, process until combined and zest is chopped fine.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, orange sugar, remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar; mix on medium low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
- Add the orange juice, vanilla, and whipping cream; continue beating on medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl between additions. Tip: crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the cheese mixture.
Tip: Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Blend the ingredients quickly to add as few air bubbles as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air pockets which can cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack during the cooling process.
- Let the filling rest about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to use for the bain marie water bath.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the oat and walnut crust.
- Set the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, and close the oven door. Bake 60 to 80 minutes.
Tip: The Cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center 2 to 3 inches are still a pool of liquid batter. The cake should look as though it has puffed a little and just barely beginning to brown. The center will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
- Remove from oven, place springform pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
- When cheesecake is completely cooled, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake as this may mar the surface.
- In a large sauté pan over high heat, combine apple juice and sugar; bring to a boil and let cook, about 10 to 20 minutes, until reduced to about ½ cup and mixture is thickened and a golden brown color. Remove pan from heat to stop mixture from over-thickening and burning. Add the butter and stir until melted.
- Meanwhile, while the apple juice is cooking, peel, core, and slice apples about ¼ inches thick. Reduce the stovetop heat to medium, return the pan to the heat and add the apples. Cook apples, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until sugar completely dissolves. Continue to boil until amber in color, 10 to 12 minutes, without stirring, but you can gently swirl the pan occasionally, if necessary, to even out the color. Remove pan from heat and let set about 30 seconds to allow the bubbling to subside.
Tip: it is important to use a large saucepan that holds at least double the volume of the ingredients. Otherwise, when the cream is added to the hot caramel mixture it could boil up and over if the pan is too small.
- Meanwhile, while the caramel is cooking, in a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and set aside to keep warm.
- Slowly and carefully pour the warmed whipping cream into the hot caramel mixture, whisking with a wire whisk until smooth. Be careful, the mixture will seem to erupt when the cream is added and the caramel will thicken. If necessary, return the pan to the heat; cook over medium heat until the caramel dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly, the caramel will thicken as it cools.
- When ready to serve, rewarm the caramel and apples.
- Arrange the warm apple slices on top of cheesecake and drizzle with warm caramel topping. Serve additional sauce on the side. Or, spoon apple slices and caramel on top of individual slices of cheesecake.
- When ready to serve, Arrange the warm apple slices on top of cheesecake and drizzle with warm caramel topping. Serve additional sauce on the side. Or, spoon apple slices and caramel on top of individual slices of cheesecake.
Better Homes and Gardens, New Baking Book, Meredith Corporation, Iowa, 1998
Bobby Flay, 2007
Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Kitchens , William Morrow, 2003
The Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook, Reiman Media Group, Wisconsin, 2009
Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003