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Holiday Recipe: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Crust:
1½ cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full graham crackers)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Caramel-Pecan Layer:
¾ cup salted caramel sauce
1 cup chopped pecans

For the Apples:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

For the Cheesecake:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream:
¾ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the Garnish:
Salted caramel sauce
Chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Make the Crust: Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and use a fork to toss the mixture together until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan or a 10-inch pie plate and press them into an even layer over the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3. Pour the salted caramel sauce over the bottom of the crust, gently spreading it into an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over top of the caramel layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator while the apples are prepared.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

5. Make the Apples: Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet, then add the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, stirring to combine. Cook the mixture until it is gently bubbling, about 1 minute. Add the apples to the pan and toss to coat with the butter mixture. Cook until the apples are very tender and just about all of the liquid has been evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then add to the pan on top of the caramel-pecan layer, spreading the apples into an even layer. Return the pan to the refrigerator.

6. For the Cheesecake: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until completely smooth. Add the egg and beat until completely combined. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and beat until completely smooth, another 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the cheesecake batter over the apples in the pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Bake until the cheesecake is set and doesn’t jiggle in the middle, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Make the Whipped Cream: Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip together the heavy cream and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

8. Garnish and Serve the Pie: Remove the sides of the springform pan. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the cheesecake layer. Dollop spoonfuls of the caramel sauce on top of the whipped cream and, using a butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl the caramel into the whipped cream. Sprinkle additional chopped pecans on top. Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Note: You can substitute store-bought caramel sauce for the homemade salted caramel, if you prefer. Source:browneyebaker.com

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