Apple Cheesecake Brulee

If you like apple pie, cheesecake, and creme brulee, this is pretty much your dream dessert. My friend Brigitte loves all 3, so it seemed like the perfect thing to make for her 28th birthday. I just wish it were more photogenic.

This was only my second attempt at making brulee anything, and I think I definitely still need some practice. I will probably double the amount of sugar I sprinkle over the cake next time, because to me it was a little spotty (the recipe below indicates what I think would work best). If you’ve never used a kitchen torch it is SO MUCH FUN, but takes a lot longer than I was expecting it to.

I also made a ground-breaking, world-rocking, earth-shattering discovery on e-how. My cheesecake came out of the oven looking beautiful and perfect, but after cooling it developed a gigantic crack in the middle. I was pretty bummed and was planning to just cover the whole thing with whipped cream and forgo the brulee, until I decided to google “how to fix a cracked cheesecake.” A video on e-how showed a chef dipping a knife in hot water, wiping it dry, then spreading the cheesecake to fill the crack. I tried it, and it worked PERFECTLY. Ideally, my next cheesecake won’t crack in the first place, but if it does, I’ll be ready to deal with it.

Recipe:
(from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)

Apples:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream

Crust:
1 1/2 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted

Cheesecake:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 tbsp corn starch
4 eggs, at room temperature

Brulee:
3 tbsp sugar

Position your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

To make the apple layer, cut the apples into 1/4″ slices. Toss with the lemon juice.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet and add the apples once the butter has melted. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, then sprinkle with sugar and cook another 5-7 minutes, then add the cream and cook until the apples are soft (but still intact). Set aside to cool.

To make the crust, combine the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and press into a greased 9″ springform pan. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Once the apples and crust are cool, layer the apples evenly over the crust, then proceed with the cheesecake.

Lower the oven temperature to 300 F.

Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium until nice and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar graduall, mixing on medium until well blended. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, sour cream, and cornstarch, mixing until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each is added.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the apples and set on the upper rack of the oven. Fill a roasting pan with water and set that on the lower rack.

Bake the cheesecake for about 75 minutes, or until the outside is set but the center is still slightly underdone (it will firm up as it cools). Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cheesecake is completely cool, run a knife around the outside then carefully release the sides of the pan. (If it’s cracked, now is a perfect time to try the warm knife trick) Transfer the cake, still on the bottom of the pan, to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of four hours.

To make the brulee topping, evenly sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Heat with a ktichen torch until browned and bubbly.

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6 comments to Apple Cheesecake Brulee

  • How sweet of you to make the perfect dessert for your friend! And thanks for the cracked cheesecake tip, I think we can all make use of that!

  • One of my goals this year is to make a dessert where I have to torch it, so I’m storing away recipes to select when the time is right…this one just got bumped to the top of the list! Love it!

  • This sounds so amazing! Apple pie is one of my favorite desserts and paired with creamy cheesecake I bet it would be delicious. Thanks for the cracking tip – that’s good to know since a huge crack can be such a bummer!

  • Great job on your friend’s cake! Good tip too on getting rid of the crack.

  • LC

    Contemplating trying this recipe, although I’m not sure how apple & cheesecake would pair together. Any other fruit that’s been tried, any suggestions are welcome.
    Also, a little confused about the instructions. Cake bakes on the top rack but a pan of water on the lower rack? It seems like this is requesting for a hot water bath type of baking for the cake, but usually when done, it’s on the same rack & pan. Clarification would be appreciated. :)

  • Cate

    I think the water bath is just to keep the oven a little humid as the cake bakes. You could probably skip it and be just fine (or bake it in the water bath like a traditional cheesecake recipe states)

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