Slices of this creamy cake bring tempting fall taste plus delightfully different textures. "The crust is on the tender side, since it absorbs the apple juice," tells Bonnie Jost of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. "Yet the fruit is slight crunchy."
- 2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
- Red, green and yellow liquid food coloring
- In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2-in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add the lemon juice, 3 teaspoons cinnamon and vanilla; beat just until blended. In a bowl, toss the apples with the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Arrange apples over crust. Place 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling each in three bowls; tint one red, one green and one orange (mixing red and yellow). Spread remaining filling over apples. Place each color of filling in a separate pastry or plastic bag; cut a small hole in the corner of bag. Pipe one leaf of each color in the center of cheesecake. Bake at 325° for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Originally published as Harvest Apple Cheesecake in Country Woman November/December 2000, p9
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