This apple cinnamon gluten free cheesecake is the creamy, dreamy packed-with-flavor dessert that they'll be going on and on about, begging you for the recipe and for you to make it next year.
If you're looking to impress the pants off your family and friends this holiday season, you need at least one showstopper dessert. You just do. Everyone expects a lovely pumpkin pie, and they'd miss it if it weren't there, but let's face it: they're not going to be gushing about pumpkin pie in the car ride home when they do the did-you-see-what-she-was-wearing postmortem. This is that dessert.
The crust is a lovely throw-it-together-in-the-food-processor oat and almond combination, so promise me you won't be overwhelmed by the ingredient list. Just dump it all in and pulse. Then, press the mixture into a springform pan and parbake it for 10 minutes. No biggie. Of course, you could always use a standard cookie-crumb crust if you prefer.
The filling is your standard cheesecake filling (the ratio for a classic cheesecake is basically 1 egg and 1/3 cup granulated sugar per 8 ounces of cream cheese), but here we add some reduced-by-half, syrupy apple juice. It gives the cheesecake itself some serious apple-cinnamon flavor, but it does make it more likely to crack a bit around the perimeter of the pan. No worries, though, as the crack will settle and almost heal itself as the cake cools.
The cooked apples on top, along with a sweet apple juice glaze, bring this gluten free cheesecake allllll the way home. The cheesecake can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, covered carefully and stored in the refrigerator without the topping. Then, no sooner than the day before serving, prepare the topping and assemble the cheesecake. Chill briefly and serve.
Apple Cinnamon Gluten Free Cheesecake
For the crust
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (140 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (50 g) certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup (40 g) raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling
2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) apple juice
3 packages (24 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
4 teaspoons (12 g) cornstarch (or try potato starch)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
2 medium-size Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) apple juice
2 teaspoons (6 g) cornstarch (or try potato starch)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the crust. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place all of the crust ingredients in the order listed and pulse until well-combined and the mixture begins to clump. Transfer the crust mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer in the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
Make the filling. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the apple juice and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half (about 6 minutes at full boil). Set aside to cool briefly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld whisk, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and beat until just combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat just until smooth. Add the reduced and cooled apple juice, and beat until just combined. Avoid overmixing the filling, as excess air can lead to cracks in the cheesecake as it bakes.
Bake the cheesecake. Place a 9-inch x 13-inch pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with very hot or boiling water. Place the cheesecake in the center of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until set on the edges with a slight, controlled jiggle in the very center. Turn off the oven and prop open the door, then allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven until the temperature falls to about 200°F (about 20 minutes). Place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool.
Make the topping. In a medium-size, heavy-bottom skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced apples, then the sugar and salt, and mix to combine. Cover the skillet and cook until the apples are very tender (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and set the apples aside to cool. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the apple juice, cornstarch and cinnamon, and whisk until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 1 minute, or until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat.
Assemble the cheesecake. Run a dull knife around the edge of the springform pan, and unmold the cheesecake. Brush the top of the cheesecake with the apple juice glaze, top with the cooked apples and brush the apples with the remaining glaze. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 2 hours and up to overnight or until set. Serve chilled.
Adapted from Taste of Home.