Honest Abe Apple Cheesecake

Prepare the Almond Crust (recipe below).
Prepare the Sauteed Apples (recipe below).
Prepare the Fresh Cheese Cheesecake Batter (recipe below).

  1. Fill the springform pan (prepared with crust) with the cheesecake batter and top with the Sauteed Apples.
    Place the filled springform pan in the center of the oven, directly on the middle shelf. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the cake 180 degrees to ensure even browning. (All ovens bake differently, so
    be alert for hot spots in your own oven.)
    Bake for 15 minutes more, and again rotate the cake 180 degrees. The cake should be starting to soufflé and should be light in color. Continue to bake for 10 minutes more, for a total of 40 minutes
    at 375°F.
    Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and leave the oven door slightly ajar. The cake should be golden brown and lightly souffléd on the sides. Leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes more.
    (This step and the two that follow allow the cake to cool to room temperature gently, preventing cracking.) Give the cake a gentle shake; it is done if the center of the cake jiggles and the surface
    of the cake is slightly firm. Turn the oven off and open the oven door wide. Leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature,
    about 1 hour.
    Loosen the cheesecake from the springform pan by sliding an offset spatula around the inside ring. Remove the springform pan from the cake and transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for at least 8
    hours or overnight before serving.
    Transfer to the freezer for 2 to 3 hours before slicing.
    Prepare the Honey Caramel (recipe below)
    Slice the cake with a thin, nonserrated knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each slice. Top each slice with Honey Caramel and serve.

ALMOND CRUST

YIELD: 1 (8- OR 9-INCH) BOTTOM CRUST, 2 (6-INCH) BOTTOM CRUSTS, 1 (9-INCH) FLUTED CRUST WITH CRUST UP THE SIDES
1 cup whole skinned almonds, toasted 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, grind the almonds, sugar, and salt. Process until the mixture becomes moist and crumbly.
3. Add the melted butter and process again until thoroughly combined.
4. Grease the pan(s). Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan(s).
5. To set the crust, bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

SAUTEED APPLES

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 baking (Ida Red or Northern Spy) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars and the cinnamon and stir until well combined. Once the butter in the saucepan has melted, add the sugar mixture to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, until the sugar begins to caramelize. Place the apple wedges in the caramelized mixture and sauté for 5 minutes, until the apples are slightly firm to the touch, but not overcooked. (Keep in mind, the apples will be baked a second time.) Remove from the heat and set aside.

FRESH CHEESE CHEESECAKE BATTER

YIELD: 1 (9-INCH) SPRINGFORM CHEESECAKE /12 SERVINGS
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, room temperature
6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cake flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 large egg whites, room temperature
4 large egg yolks, room temperature

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, combine the ricotta and goat cheeses and shear them until they are smooth. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to prevent lumps from forming and mix for 1 minute more.
3. Add the sheared ricotta and goat cheeses and the mascarpone cheese to the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on low speed for 1 minute, until well blended and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl and continue beating on low speed for 1 minute more, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the cake flour. Stir until well combined.
5. Add the contents of the medium mixing bowl to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl and continue
beating on low speed for 1 minute more, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
6. Place the lemon zest on a clean cutting board and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar over it. Work the sugar into the zest using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Add the sugared zest
to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute, until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set aside.
7. Replace the paddle attachment with the whisk attachment and fit the mixer with a clean, dry bowl. Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk
for 3 to 4 minutes, until the yolks are light in color and the mixture holds its shape. Transfer the whipped egg yolks to a small mixing bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside.
8. Wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk attachment. Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk them for about 2 to 3 minutes, until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the
sugar and continue whisking for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Transfer the whipped egg whites to a small mixing bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside.
9. Using a plastic, rubber, or silicone spatula, gently fold the whipped egg yolks into the bowl containing the cheese mixture. Gently mix on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated. Do not overmix.
10. Using the same spatula, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the bowl containing the cheese mixture. Gently mix on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter should be very light and airy.

HONEY CARAMEL

YIELD: 2 CUPS OR ENOUGH TO COVER 1 (9-INCH) CHEESECAKE
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium–high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the caramel to a medium heatproof bowl.