You’ve flipped your paper calendar to November, there’s a gallon of apple cider in your fridge, “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” is chirping on Pandora, and you’re pinning unrealistic menu and holiday decorating to-dos as if Pinterest hands out gold medals. And now you will fall asleep at night counting tiny triangles of caramel apple cider cheesecake.
But since cheesecake doesn’t fall from trees, this is a realistic dessert to pin to your Thanksgiving Meal board. You will impress your guests or hosts with a cheesecake flavor they’ve likely never tried, and you get to make it well in advance of your dinner because you can refrigerate cheesecake for seven days and you can freeze it for up to six months.
If you are a cheesecake novice, this is an easy enough cheesecake recipe for you. I’ll share my same tips as I did a few days ago in Don’t let cheesecake scare you: start with a recipe easier than monster cookie dough cheesecake:
- Bring ingredients to room temperature. Using room temperature ingredients and adding the eggs last, and not overbeating once you add them, are the secrets to making cheesecake. Simple as that.
- Plan to be at home for a few hours. (But you can even run errands while the cheesecake cools.)
Sweet fall wishes,
Caramel apple cider cheesecake
- 1-1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple butter (smooth, nut chunky)
- 1/2 cup boiled cider (or use this recipe from Midwest Living to make your own boiled cider)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup caramel ice cream topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees. For a 9-inch springform pan, grease the springform pan with baking or cooking spray. For a 9-inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper or pan lining paper leaving extra paper hanging over the edge to use as a handle to lift the cheesecake out.
Combine the crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a small bowl. Stir well. (Or combine in a food processor.) Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of pan. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat room temperature cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy throughout, with no chunks or pieces. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times while mixing. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes. This only works if the cream cheese is at a soft, room temperature consistency.
Add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture and beat on medium-high speed for a few minutes until sugar is well combined and the texture is creamy.
Drop the apple butter and apple pie spice in and stir lightly. Pour in the boiled cider and mix on medium just until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low just until combined. Turn off the mixer and gently scrape down the sides of the bowl after each egg is added. Do not overbeat.
Gently pour the filling into the prepared crust. With a spoon or fork, drizzle the caramel all over the top, trying not to drop big globs on the cheesecake. With a knife, swirl the caramel into the cheesecake, but only near the top of the batter, don't get it very deep.
Bake at 350° for approximately one hour and 15 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown and the center is just set. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door open slightly. Let the cheesecake completely cool in the oven for two hours. (You can run your errands now.)
Once cool, run a knife between the pan and the cheesecake to loosen it from the sides, then cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan or remove from square pan by lifting the edges of the parchment paper. To slice, run a large knife under hot water and dry before making each cut to keep the slices smooth and free from crumbs.
Keep cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to seven days. If you want to freeze the cheesecake or slices of cheesecake wrap tightly in foil or seal in freezer bags for up to six months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and at room temperature for 2 hours or at room temperature for three hours.
If you want to bake this cheesecake in 4-inch springform pans as I have pictured, lower the oven temperature to 300° and bake approximately 40-45 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown and centers are just set.
If you want to get fancy, serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.