The American Baking Competition finalist Francine Bryson bakes her Southern-style cakes, pies and biscuits with love and tips and tricks from the women in her family in Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen.
I won a North Carolina State Apple Festival Grand Champion Ribbon with this one. If you like caramel apples, this is the cheesecake to go for. The Carolinas get some of the best apples in the country, and we stick to eating them in the fall, when they’re in their prime. I use something firm here, like Granny Smith or Fuji. I usually use pecans, because I really like them with apples, but hazelnuts or black walnuts would be good in this, too. The caramel comes from all that butter and sugar, and it just cooks down and coats those apples something perfect. Serve this up when it’s getting cold out, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a mug of hot apple cider in front of a warm fireplace.
1 9-inch cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the crust: In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Press onto the bottom and a little bit up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes.
- Set aside on a wire rack to cool. Prepare the cheesecake filling: Using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. Let the filling rest for about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. Pour the filling into the baked crust.
- Prepare the apple filling: In a bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Toss with the apples to coat. Spoon the apple mixture over the cream cheese layer and sprinkle with the pecans. Bake until set and slightly browned on top, 60 to 70 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan and then let cool completely on a wire rack before removing the sides. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Reprinted from Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen. Copyright © 2014 by Francine Bryson. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.