Tag Archives: apple

Thanksgiving Dessert: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart with Streusel Topping

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A combination of so many things that I love: apples, cinnamon, cheesecake, caramel (I used homemade Dulce de Leche, or try this Caramel Sauce), and a buttery, slightly sweet oat topping. A perfect end to a Thanksgiving meal- a perfect end to just about any meal!

The recipe is long, but not complicated. While there are a lot of ingredients, each layer is easy to put together. Just make sure you have all of your layers ready to go before putting things into the pan.

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For a more pronounced caramel flavor, you could drizzle individual servings with additional caramel sauce at serving time.

I used a Cream Cheese Pastry recipe for the crust, but you could also use any basic pie crust. I bake this in a tart pan (mine has an 11” diameter). You could also use a deep dish pie pan, but you might want to reduce the amount of streusel topping and increase the baking time to make sure cheesecake layer sets.

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Cheesecake layer on the bottom.

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A caramel apple filling made with apples, brown sugar, dulce de leche or caramel sauce, and cinnamon. Use a spoon to gently and evenly distribute apples over the cheesecake filling. Try to not mix the two layers together.111010 057-1

A chunky streusel topping with a nutty oat flavor gets sprinkled over the apples.111010 058-1

Cover edges of tart with a pie crust shield. I do not own one that fits my tart pan, so I make my own out of foil. See How To…Make Your Own Pie Crust Shield. Since the tart pan has steeper sides than a regular pie plate, when you are tracing the circle to cut out, be sure to cut a circle that is about 1/2” smaller than the outside edge of the tart pan. 111010 068-1

Bake until center is set (it will still jiggle just a little in the center, but will continue to set as it cools) and streusel is golden brown. I leave the foil on for all but the last 5 minutes of baking time.  111010 073-1

The hardest part: keeping little fingers (and a few big ones) from picking at the streusel topping while the tart cools completely.

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RECIPE:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart

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Cream Cheese Pastry Crust:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz (½ pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups flour (divided)

In a food processor, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt. Process until smooth. Add ½ cup flour. Pulse just until flour is incorporated (do not overmix). Repeat with another ½ cup flour. Scrape dough from sides of bowl and repeat with the last ½ cup flour.

On a floured surface, flatten dough into a 1/2” thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, or until firm enough to roll. Dough can also be frozen for later use.

Cheesecake Layer:
12 oz (1 ½ pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth with a mixer.

Apple Layer:
4 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 3-4 apples)
½ cup Dulce de Leche or Caramel Sauce
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp ClearJel or cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
scant 1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients.

Streusel Topping:
6 Tbs butter, melted
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients. Mix until crumbly.

ASSEMBLY:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Move oven rack to lowest level.

Remove pastry dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle 1” larger than a 10-11” tart pan. Transfer to ungreased tart pan. Crimp edges, if desired.

Pour cheesecake filling into crust. Carefully top with apple layer. Sprinkle with streusel topping.

Cover edges of tart with a pie crust shield or aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes on lowest rack of oven. Reduce heat to 375°F, move tart to center rack, and bake for 15-25 additional minutes, or until just the very center (not the edges) jiggles when shaken lightly. Cover entire tart with foil if streusel begins to brown too much. Cool completely on a wire rack.

NOTE: This can be made into bars by cooking in a rectangular baking pan (put crust on bottom of the pan only, not up the sides). A 7×11” pan will give you about the same thickness as the tart, or use a 9×13” pan for slightly thinner bars.

 

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Apple Zucchini Muffins with Maple Streusel Topping

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I love apple season and the smell of warm baking apples and cinnamon, in all of their varieties: apple pies, apple crisps, apple butter, and now apple muffins. These muffins also have a little bit of summer thrown in, in the form of  some shredded zucchini frozen from our summer harvest.

DSC02037This is a pretty simple muffin recipe to throw together and it leaves your house with that wonderful smell of fall baking for the rest of the day!

Start with peeling an apple and finely chopping it. Also shred your zucchini. Set aside.

Combine your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

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Mix two beaten eggs with maple syrup (not pancake syrup, but REAL 100% maple syrup), melted butter, vanilla and maple extract. Stir in zucchini and apples.

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Prepare Maple Streusel Topping: Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. With a fork, mix in maple syrup and maple extract and then butter. Mix until crumbly.DSC02057

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Add nuts, if using.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, either lined with paper liners or sprayed with baking spray. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way to the top. Sprinkle with streusel topping. I ended up with a little bit more of the topping than I had muffins.

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Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. This recipe makes about 15-18 muffins.

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RECIPE:

Apple Zucchini Muffins with Maple Streusel Topping

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten slightly
½ cup maple syrup (use 100% pure maple syrup)
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp maple extract
1 cup peeled, finely chopped apple (about 1 medium apple)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Streusel Topping:
1 cup flour
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tbs maple syrup
¼ tsp maple extract
3 Tbs butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or spray with baking spray.

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla and maple extract. Peel and chop apple; shred zucchini. Stir into egg mixture.

Prepare Streusel Topping: Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. With a fork, stir in maple syrup and extract. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Stir together wet and dry ingredients (not topping) just until moistened. Add nuts, if desired.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans. Top each muffin with 1-2 Tbs streusel topping, crumbling the topping with your fingers. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Yield: 15-18 muffins

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Apple Pie

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Monday nights at our house are “Family Night”. This is a definite No Empty Chairs event in our home. We work very hard to keep everyone’s schedule clear on Monday nights. Family Night is a time when we gather together for some good old fashioned family fun and bonding. Everyone has an assignment on Family Night and it rotates weekly. Assignments include everything from saying a prayer, to choosing a song, giving a short lesson or message, choosing the family game, to everyone’s favorite: making a treat. This week it was Brian’s turn to make the treat, but he is usually pretty good at delegating this responsibility (for which everyone is grateful, or we would be eating microwave popcorn whenever his turn came around). As he is also still recovering from the effects of swine flu, I took on his treat responsibility this week.

I recently bought a bushel of apples from a produce auction (many thanks Cynthia!), so we have been trying out some fun new apple recipes. The recipe for this pie comes from Dawn Viola, a winner in this year’s Crisco National Pie Championship for her Vanilla-Vanilla Bean Roasted Apple Pie. (Which is kind of funny, because she uses no shortening in her recipe!) I simplified and modified it some for the dessert I made tonight (I will try it again another time when I have whole vanilla beans). The resulting pie was wonderful: a filling of cinnamon spiced apples  that was not too runny and an especially flaky all-butter crust.

The secret to making the dough flaky is to keep your ingredients and equipment as cold as possible. Dawn suggests putting your ingredients, bowls and food processor blade in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting.

To make the pie crust, combine the chilled flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter cubes and pulse  until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the vinegar (cold) and vanilla extract and pulse to mix. Add one tablespoon of water at a time (make sure it is ice-cold), pulsing until the mixture begins to hold together. If you pinch some of the dough, it should stick together in your hand. Add more water if necessary. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into two  round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

I got a lot of help with the apple filling. LittleJ loves to help out in the kitchen! She is now my official apple peeler.

DSC01515Peel and slice about 12 apples (8 cups of sliced apples). Preheat your broiler. Place apples, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a roasting pan; toss apples to coat.

DSC01505 Broil until the apples begin to brown. Watch carefully so that your apples don’t burn. Stir once or twice. Remove apples  from the oven when they have begun to brown, but are not completely cooked through. Stir in the remaining sugar,  flour, Clear Jel and salt. Add the vanilla extract, apple cider and cream; stir. Set aside.

To assemble the pie, place a 9” pie plate into the freezer. Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of the chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator. Fill with apples. Dot top of apples with 2 Tbs butter. Place top crust on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom  edges together to seal. Flute edge, if desired, and make a few air vents around the top of the pie. I used a cute little maple leaf cookie cutter to make my vents.

DSC01509 Lightly brush the top and sides of the pie with an egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie shield if edges are browning too quickly. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check pie every 7-10 minutes, cooking until the crust is golden brown and flaky.

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Cool pie for at least two hours before cutting and serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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RECIPE:

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Apple Pie (adapted from Dawn Viola)

All-Butter Pie Crust (for double pie crust)

Filling:
8 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples (about 12 Granny Smith)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs Clear Jel (or 1 additional Tbs flour)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tsp vanilla (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped)
1 Tbs heavy cream or 1/4 cup sour cream

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 Tbs cream

Coarse sugar

Prepare pie crust as directed for a double crust.

Filling: Preheat the broiler. Add apples, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar to a roasting pan; stir. Broil until the apples begin to brown. Watch carefully so that your apples don’t burn. Stir once or twice. Remove apples  from the oven when they have begun to brown, but are not completely cooked through. Stir in the remaining sugar,  flour, Clear Jel and salt. Add the vanilla, apple cider and cream (or sour cream); stir. Set aside.

To assemble the pie, place a 9” pie plate into the freezer. Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of the chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator. Fill with apples. Dot top of apples with 2 Tbs butter. Place top crust on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom  edges together to seal. Flute edge, if desired, and make a few air vents around the top of the pie.

Gently whisk the egg and cream in a small dish. Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and along the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield if edges are browning too quickly. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check pie every 7-10 minutes, cooking until the crust is golden brown and flaky. Cool pie for at least two hours before cutting and serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

All Butter Pie Crust (adapted from Dawn ViolaMakes a double pie crust

2 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped + 1 Tbs vanilla powder)
6-8 Tbs ice water

Chill ingredients, bowls and food processor blade in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse to mix.Add butter cubes and pulse  until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the vinegar (cold) and vanilla extract and pulse to mix. Add one tablespoon of water at a time (make sure it is ice-cold), pulsing until the mixture begins to hold together. If you pinch some of the dough, it should stick together in your hand. Add more water if necessary. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into two  round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of a chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Fill with desired filling and bake as directed in pie recipe.

 

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