Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

Apple Crumble Cheesecake 1
Sorry for the REALLY bad lighting, I took this just before it went out the door.

I am well aware of the irony of having a blog with the word 'Cheesecake' in the title, and yet hardly any cheesecake recipes at all. I choose the title partly because they were the first thing I felt that I could cook well (as demonstrated by the rave reviews and requests I received after making one) and because they are my all-time favourite dessert. That being said, they do tend to trip me up quite regularly.

As much as I would like to cook cheesecake every week (and there are times when I could happily eat it every single day), the reality is that the cost of the ingredients and decadence of the finished product (not to mention calorie content) mean that I only allow myself to cook one when there is a suitable special occasion.

I find it strange when I remember hating cheesecake as a kid. For some reason I had decided that, since I didn't like soft cheeses, I most certainly could not like cheesecake. Thankfully, I woke up to myself and decided to actually TRY it at some point in my adulthood and I was hooked. I prefer the denseness of the baked variety and am really not that partial to the ones based on gelatine. However, the best cheesecake I EVER made was a frozen one - cream cheese, condensed milk and swirls of homemade caramel... it was FABULOUS!! (and it didn't see the inside of an oven or a single gelatin leaf).

Apple Crumble Cheesecake 2
...and from the top. Look at that crumble!!

This cheesecake is great because it is just a little bit more interesting than your ordinary cheesecake. It's so good that when I sent it off with my husband asking him to save me a small piece, he came back with a clean plate (boo hoo). But he did tell me that everyone raved about it, so at least I know it tasted good. I'll be interested to hear how anyone else goes if they make decide to make it, so make sure you let me know how you go.

Sorry there are no innards shots - it's not quite polite to send a cake out with a piece missing :(

Apple Crumble Cheesecake
Inspired by this recipe from
Base by the lovely Donna Hay via Masterchef
Filling from
Crumble topping from AWW's Old-Fashioned Favourites

1/3 cup almond meal
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
90g chilled butter, chopped

Preheat oven to 150C. Place a piece of baking paper over an inverted springform base and reinsert it into the pan (this makes it easier to serve later).

Combine almond meal, flour, sugar and butter, and rub with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour into the prepared tin and press down gently until it evenly covers the base of the pan. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Cook for 15 minutes, until light golden brown (I found min didn't turn the same golden brown colour as Donna's on the Masterclass episode, and I had it in for about 25 minutes - I'm not sure if it's because she had a shiny pan and I did not?). Set aside to cool. Make filling.

2x 250g packets cream cheese (softened)
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
Can of Pie Apples (or you could prepare your own), chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon, sifted

Increase oven temperature to 160C/140C fan-forced. Grease the sides of the tin with a little bit of butter (don't do this step earlier otherwise the butter will burn).

You can either throw all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until combined.

Or if you don't have a large food processor (like moi)... Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly until fully incorporated before adding the next one. Fold through cinnamon and apples. Pour into pan. Gently tap the pan on the bench top to bring any air bubbles to the surface, and remove these by running the back of a spoon very lightly over them. Make topping.

75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
35g (1/4 cup) plain flour
110g (1/2 cup) firmly packed brown sugar
100g cold butter, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Process flours, sugar and butter until combined. Sprinkle over cheesecake filling (you will probably have some left over - great to cook on a baking tray until browned and then served over ice-cream YUMMMM!).

Cook cheesecake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until it is just set (it will have a slight wobble in the middle - although this is a little hard to see with the crumble on top. I erred on the side of undercooking it slightly as I reasoned it will firm up in the fridge, but overcooked cheesecake will remain overcooked). Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there with the door closed for an hour. Transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

NOTE: it is really important that you incorporate as little air into the batter with the eggs as possible, otherwise you will increase your chances of your top being uneven or cracked. This is also why the cheesecake is left in the oven with the door closed - it slows down the cooling process and decreases the chances of the top cracking. I still haven't got it quite right, but toppings hide all :)

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