Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Cider Cheese Cake--Perfect for Fall

Fall means apples here and the orchard up the road makes the best cider.
A week ago I boiled down 1/2 gallon of cider into 1 1/2 cups of cider syrup. I used this in some muffins giving them a wonderfully rich cider flavor but today a cheesecake was in order because my friend just had a baby and cheesecake is one of her favorite desserts. There will be no "finished", plated photo because the whole thing went for her family to enjoy despite the cries of protest from my own dear children, one would think they never had dessert!
The crust:
 3/4 of a bag of Archway Gingersnaps
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons melted butter
Pulverize to crumbs in a food processor, the gingersnaps
 add sugar, pulse a few times to mix in,
 add butter, pulse.
Press into a 9x13" baking dish. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450F.
3  8oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cider syrup, optional ( you can substitute regular cider )
Beat cream cheese until smooth,

Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and cider.
Pour into the crust and set aside.
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Toss together.

Sprinkle on top of the cheese filling.
Bake at 450F for 10 minutes then (without opening the door) turn down to 250F for another 30-35 minutes. It will still be soft when nudged but not jiggly or wet, it will solidify when cool.
 I always make a cheesecake a day ahead because it needs some time to cool completely and the flavors to build. This will freeze well, wrap when completely cool and freeze up to a couple months.
I am enjoying experimenting with the cider syrup, if you make it let me know what you try with it!

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