Silky and Rich Apple Pie Cheesecake
Apple pie cheesecake is the combination of two classic yet equally delicious desserts! The velvety cheesecake filling is perfectly complemented by the tender, cinnamon-spiced Honeycrisp apples, and buttery streusel topping. This luscious apple crumble cheesecake is what you need when you’re craving a rich and satisfying dessert with a fall twist!
This apple pie cheesecake is like combining a juicy apple pie with a classic rich cheesecake recipe. It’s the best of both worlds when you can’t decide between the two!
To make this cheesecake you’ll start off by making a regular classic cheesecake with a graham cracker crust but then top it with diced Honey crisp apples that are spiced with cinnamon and brown sugar. Then you’ll top it with a homemade streusel before baking.
As a trained pastry chef I have made many cheesecake recipes and have come up with a hack for baking them. Instead of wrapping the cheesecake and placing it in a water bath, just place a tin with 1″ of water on the bottom rack and tada! you have the same effect. No need to worry about water seeping into the cheesecake or splashing it all over yourself. Win win.
What I love about this apple crisp cheesecake is that it is a perfect dessert for summer or fall! If you love easy apple desserts like this one, definitely try these 5 star rated Apple Pie Dessert Bars, or this apple bundt cake.
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- You don’t need any special baking skills to make this impressive dessert.
- It’s a cross between a cheesecake and apple pie.
- This dessert is perfect for either summer time or during winter!
For The Crust
- Graham Crackers – Crushed graham crackers serve as the base for the crust, providing a delicious, slightly sweet and crumbly foundation for the cheesecake.
- Unsalted Butter – Binds the graham cracker crumbs together, helping to create a firm and cohesive crust.
- Granulated Sugar – A touch of granulated sugar is added to the crust mixture to enhance its sweetness and balance the flavors.
The Cheesecake Filling
- Cream Cheese – The star of the filling, cream cheese lends its rich and creamy texture, resulting in a smooth and luscious cheesecake base.
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetens the cheesecake filling, providing the perfect level of sweetness to complement the tanginess of the cream cheese.
- Sour Cream – Adds a tangy and velvety texture to the filling, enhancing the creaminess and balancing the flavors.
- Eggs – Contribute to the structure and stability of the cheesecake, helping it set during baking and giving it a smooth and silky texture.
- Half and Half – Adds richness and creaminess to the filling.
- Vanilla Extract – Infuses the filling with a warm and aromatic flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the cheesecake.
- All-Purpose Flour – Helps to stabilize the filling, preventing it from cracking or collapsing during baking.
For the Apple Filling
- Honeycrisp Apples – These apples are chosen for their crisp texture, natural sweetness, and distinct flavor, providing a refreshing and fruity element to the cheesecake.
- Brown Sugar – Adds a deep and caramel-like sweetness to the apple filling, enhancing its natural flavors.
- Cinnamon – A warm and aromatic spice that perfectly complements the apples, adding a cozy and comforting taste to the dessert.
For the Streusel Topping
- All-Purpose Flour – Forms the base of the streusel, providing structure and creating a crumbly texture.
- Sugar (Brown and White) – Both types of sugar add sweetness and contribute to the texture and caramelization of the streusel, creating a delightful crunch.
- Cinnamon – Enhances the flavor profile of the streusel, infusing it with warm and fragrant notes.
- Kosher Salt – Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor profile of the streusel.
- Butter – Cold diced butter is cut into the streusel mixture, creating small clumps that melt during baking, resulting in a buttery and crisp topping.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE PIE CHEESECAKE
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350° F, spray a 9″ springform pan with non-stick baking spray, and set aside.
Assemble and bake the crust: Place graham cracker crumbs in a microwave safe medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and butter and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Stir the mixture until combined. Press the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom and sides. Bake for 6 mins until the crust is golden brown. Turn the oven down to 325°F.
Prepare streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine the diced apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. In another medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Mix until combined. Add the small cubes of diced butter. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter or pinch the butter into the mixture with your fingers gently until small clumps are formed no larger than the size of a pea. Place in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
Assemble the cheesecake filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream. Mix well. Then add one egg at a time, mixing for a few seconds in between additions. On low speed, add in the half-n-half and vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds. Add in the flour slowly, then move your speed up to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes.
Layer the ingredients: Pour the batter into the graham cracker crust. Top the batter with a sprinkle of streusel, then using a slotted spoon to drain the juice, add the apples on top. Add the remaining streusel.
Bake the cheesecake: Take a 9×13 inch pan, fill it with an inch of water, and put it on the lower rack of your oven. This acts as a steam bath. Place the cheesecake on the upper rack of the oven. Bake for 55-65 minutes. Cool in a turned off oven.
Chill and serve: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before slicing and enjoying.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Make sure to bring the cream cheese and sour cream to room temperature before starting the recipe. This will ensure that they blend smoothly and result in a creamy and lump-free cheesecake filling.
- Choose Honeycrisp apples- their crisp texture holds up well during baking, ensuring a delightful bite in every slice.
- Before adding the streusel and apples to the cheesecake, drain the excess juice from the apple filling using a slotted spoon. This will prevent the cheesecake from becoming overly moist.
- Placing a water bath or steam bath in the oven while baking the cheesecake helps create a moist environment and prevents cracks on the surface. Remember to use a separate pan filled with water on the lower rack of the oven.
- When the cheesecake is done baking, it will still be slightly jiggly in the center. This is normal, as it will continue to set as it cools. Resist the temptation to overbake it, as it may result in a dry and overcooked cheesecake.
- Apple Walnut Cheesecake: Add a delightful crunch by stirring in a half cup of chopped walnuts into the apple filling.
- Salted Caramel Drizzle: Elevate the flavors by drizzling a generous amount of homemade salted caramel sauce over the baked and cooled cheesecake.
- Maple Pecan Streusel: Replace the traditional streusel topping with a maple pecan version. Mix together one cup of chopped pecans, half a cup of all-purpose flour, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of melted butter, and a teaspoon of maple syrup. Sprinkle this mixture over the cheesecake before baking.
- Spiced Rum Infusion: Add a boozy note by incorporating a tablespoon of spiced rum into the apple filling. The warm and aromatic flavors of the rum beautifully complement the cinnamon-spiced apples.
- Gingerbread Crust: For a festive twist, substitute the graham cracker crust with a gingerbread crust. Combine crushed gingerbread cookies with melted butter and press the mixture into the pan.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: To store the apple crisp cheesecake, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days to maintain its freshness and texture.
Freezing: To freeze, do so before adding the streusel topping. Wrap the cheesecake securely in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw slowly overnight. This gradual thawing process helps preserve the texture and prevent any potential water condensation on the surface. Once fully thawed, you can add the streusel topping if desired and serve as usual.
Freezing cheesecake may slightly alter its texture. While the flavors will still be delicious, the texture may be slightly softer. However, it will still be a delightful treat worth savoring.
WAYS TO ENJOY
- Add a drizzle of Cinnamon Glaze over the top for an even more warming flavor.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce makes an excellent addition to round out the flavors.
- Enjoy as a pick-me-up along with a cold glass of Caramel Iced Coffee.
Silky and Rich Apple Pie Cheesecake
For The Crust
- 6 Graham Crackers, crushed or 1 cup crumbs
- 1/4 cup unsalted Butter
- 1 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
For the Apples
- 2 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced small
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the Streusel topping
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon, depending on preference
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 5 tbsp cold butter, diced small
For The Cheesecake Filling
- 16 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream, at room temperature
- 2 Eggs, large
- 1/4 cup Half & Half
- 1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
Make the crust
- Preheat your oven to 350° F and spray a 9″ springform pan with baking spray
- Place the 1 cup graham cracker crumbs in a microwave safe medium sized bowl. Add the 1/4 cup butter and 1 tbsp sugar and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Stir the mixture until combined. It should look like wet sand.
- Press the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom and sides. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to help press it down hard.
- Bake for 6 mins until it smells like heaven from your oven and the crust is golden brown. Cool. Turn the oven down to 325°F.
- In a small bowl combine the diced apples with 3 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
Make the streusel
- In another medium sized bowl combine the 1 cup flour, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Mix until combined. Add the small diced COLD butter. Butter must be cold!
- Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter or pinch the butter into the mixture with your fingers gently until small clumps are formed no larger than the size of a pea. Place in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
Make the cheesecake filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the 2 blocks of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup sour cream. Mix on medium speed until creamed well together, about 2 minutes.
- Continue mixing on low-medium speed, then add 1 egg at a time, mixing for a few seconds in between additions.
- On low speed add in the ¼ cup half n half and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds. Add in the 3 tbsp flour slowly then move your speed up to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed evenly and pour the batter into the graham cracker crust.
- Top the batter with a sprinkle of streusel, then using a slotted spoon to drain the juice, add the apples on top. Add the remaining streusel.
- Take a 9×13 inch pan, fill it with an inch of water and put it on the lower rack of your oven. This acts as a steam bath.
- Place the cheesecake on the upper rack of the oven. Bake for 55-65 minutes.
- The cheesecake is done when the edges start to brown and break away from the sides of the pan. It will still be jiggly in the middle- you want that! Turn the oven off and crack the oven door open a little bit. Leave the cheesecake to cool for one hour, then remove to finish cooling on the counter.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Enjoy by itself or topped with ice cream or bourbon caramel sauce!