“Apples and cheese have gone together forever, so it’s no surprise this combination works so well – in fact, it’s stunning. Most will prefer it with the caramel but I quite like it without.” Poh Ling YeowPoh & Co. 2

Serves
12-14

Preparation

45min

Cooking

1hr
30min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 3.2 (150 votes)
Yum

Ingredients

  • softened butter, for greasing
  • 180 g digestive biscuits
  • 120 g (1 cup) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp salt

 

Filling

  • 750 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 110 g (½ cup) soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 125 ml (½ cup) cream
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice

 

Apple topping

  • 250 ml (1 cup) apple juice
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 3 Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (see Note)
  • 20 g butter
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Calvados or brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

Caramel sauce

  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 100 ml thin cream
  • 1 tbsp Calvados or brandy
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Cooling time 3 hours

Chilling time 4 hours or overnight

Preheat the oven to 170°C fan-forced (190°C).

Turn the base of a 24 cm springform cake tin upside-down so the lip is underneath, cover with a piece of baking paper, then clamp the outside ring of the tin around it to secure. Grease the side with softened butter.

Place the biscuits, 100 g (1 cup) of the walnuts, the orange zest and the brown sugar in a food processor and pulse until a fine sandy texture forms. Add the melted butter and salt, then pulse until the mixture begins to come together. Press the crumb mixture evenly and firmly into the base of the lined springform cake tin.

To make the filling, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, beat the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy. With the motor running, add one egg at a time, whisking well after adding each one. Add the cream and beat until just combined. Add the lemon juice and orange zest and whisk by hand until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50–60 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set and still a little wobbly; check during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Turn the oven off, prop the door ajar with a wooden spoon and leave the cake to cool inside for 1 hour. Place the cheesecake in its tin on a wire rack and leave for 2 hours or until completely cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until chilled through.

Meanwhile, to make the apple topping, place the apple juice in a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced to 125 ml (½ cup). Add the apple and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until softened. Add the butter, Calvados or brandy and vanilla extract cook for another 2–3 minutes or until there is just enough syrup to coat the apple. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

To make the caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 6 minutes or until the mixture turns a beautiful deep amber, then immediately remove from the heat. Taking care, slowly pour in a small amount of cream; the mixture will bubble up. Carefully pour in the remaining cream and quickly whisk to combine. Whisk in the Calvados or brandy, vanilla and salt.

To serve, arrange the apple topping over the top of the cheesecake, separating the slices. Scatter with the remaining toasted walnuts, breaking them up into smaller pieces. Drizzle with the caramel sauce and serve.

 

Note

• I use a mandoline to slice my apples super-thin.

 

Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.

Poh & Co. 2 Thursdays at 8.30pm on SBS.

 

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