the almighty cheesecake

I have been baking, independently, for about 15 years, and I have never attempted to make a cheesecake until last year.

I love cheesecake. It is creamy, and sweet, and tangy, and everything I could ever want in a dessert. It is my love for cheesecake that made me terrified to make it. Reading recipes only frightened me more because they used terms like “water bath” and had cooking times that exceeded 4 hours. So I stuck to the “poor-man’s cheesecake” that consisted of cream cheese, cool whip, and a store bought crust; I hated myself. Creating this monstrosity was the bane of my existence, thought it is disgustingly delicious.

So last year, when my father requested I bring a cheesecake to Thanksgiving dinner, I accepted the challenge. Of course, being the season of pumpkins, my original thought was pumpkin cheesecake, but I’m the only one in my family that loves pumpkin so I opted for a different seasonal favourite…apple caramel. I opened up Pinterest and found this beauty.

Click for Caramel Apple Cheesecake recipe!

Ingredients needed: unsalted butter, apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves or nutmeg, heavy whipping cream, graham crackers, granulated sugar, cream cheese, all-purpose flour, greek yogurt or sour cream, vanilla extract, milk, and eggs.

My conclusions:

  • I don’t have a cast iron skillet (add it to my wish list) but I do have stainless steal, so that’s what I used when making the apples.
  • I never have cloves so I used nutmeg.
  • The apples will keep their form so if you’re looking to make the dessert pretty, cut the apples as neatly as you can. I got lazy and the result wasn’t as beautiful as I wanted.
  • I cooked the apples too long before adding the sugar/cream mixture which forced me to take them out before the caramel had browned. This left the apples looking kind of milky when I removed them. Check your apples frequently to ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • Another wish list item, a roasting pan. Here it is…the ever daunting “water bath.” As I mentioned, I don’t have a pan that would fit my springform. So I did as the recipe said and lined the springform with aluminum foil, and that’s it.
  • Make your own crust. It’s so easy and 10x more delicious than store bought.
  • I used low-fat greek yogurt in the filling. Delicious.
  • I followed the remaining instructions (minus anything water bath related), including turning off the oven and waiting an additional hour (my oven door opens too far, so I stuck a wooden spoon in the side of the oven door and that worked brilliantly). It was during this time, that the cheesecake cracked…sigh…the dreaded cheesecake crack. But that’s ok! Because I made a delicious topping for this cheesecake that would cover that crack right up!

I made this cheesecake a day ahead and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. So good! This is one of the few recipes I have made that even I, the person who made it, was like “this is freaking amazing…good for me.”

And there you have it! If you’re afraid to make cheesecake, don’t be. It’s way easier than it seems and you’ll be a hero at the dinner table.

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