It feels as though I made this pie ages ago, but really, it was just at the end of November, for Thanksgiving. My Mom hosts Thanksgiving dinner every year and my sisters and I all contribute to the spread, helping take some of the stress off of her shoulders. This year my Mom’s been working even more hours than usual, so I asked her if she’d like me to make the menu and divvy up the assignments, which she took me up on. I genuinely wanted to help, but I’ll also confess that I wanted the opportunity to change things up just a tiny bit.
Our Thanksgiving meals are heavy on tradition. We eat Stove Top and canned-food-galore green bean casserole, and we don’t want people fancying them up or messing with them. It’s foodie blasphemy, but then again, we don’t claim to be foodies. We like the things we like! But I do like the chance to try new dishes now and then, and I look at family get togethers and parties as the perfect opportunity to dig into my files and find something fun, decadent, or both.
I’m not a huge fan of standard pies – pumpkin, apple, peach. I’ll pass if those are my options. So when I was deciding on my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to try to find something that was a fun twist on the standards (which would be provided by others in attendance). It’s no surprise that I found what I was looking for in the wealth of deliciousness over at Annie’s Eats.
This pie is delicious and decadent, and a nice improvement on the standard apple pie that we see everywhere in the fall and winter months. There are multiple parts, but it came together easily and it was all worth it in the end. My family loved it, and I can easily see myself making this again in the future.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½-¾ cup caramel (Annie has a recipe for homemade; I used store-bought without complaint)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
8 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
½ cup caramel
To make the crust
Preheat the oven to 375*. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round Springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracked crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter, tossing with a fork until the crumbs are moistened and evenly mixed. Pour mixture into the prepared Springform pan and press the crumbs into an even layer across the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute until bubbling. Mix in apple slices, tossing well to coat with the butter mixture. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the apples are tender and most of the liquid has been reduced – about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, pour into prepared crust, set aside.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F.
To make the cheesecake layer
Combine cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, egg, and lemon juice until smooth and incorporated. Spread the cheesecake filling over the cooked apples in an even layer. Bake the pie until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.
Place pie, sill in pan, on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature (this may take awhile – leave yourself plenty of time!). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. When ready to serve, remove the sides of the Springform pan.
Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat. Spread the whipped cream over top of the chilled pie. Top with dollops of caramel and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Slice with a long thin knife.