1/2 recipe sugar dough (See ingredients and recipe below)
3/4 pound (about 2 medium) baking apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds (24 oz./680g) cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
(Makes about 1 1/2 pounds or two 9-inch tart shells)
2 1/3 cups cake or pastry flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz./226g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1 or 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Topping and Garnish: (optional)
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted (for drizzling over top of cheesecake)
Fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries or combination of berries
Always make the pastry dough several hours before using it, preferably the day before. You will find the dough much easier to work with. Quantities can be increased as desired, and then divided into portions for freezing. Just remember to wrap carefully and seal well before freezing.
Instructions For The Sugar Dough:
1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour and sugar. Add the butter and process until the texture resembles fine meal.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and 1 tablespoon of the cream. Scrape into the machine and process until a ball begins to form, using the additional tablespoon of cream, if necessary. Remove the dough from the machine, and on a lightly floured surface, press down into a circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For The Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Using the base of the springform pan as a guide, cut out a circle. Transfer the circle to a pastry sheet, prick with a fork to prevent it from rising, and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool, and with a wide spatula, place into the springform pan. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, caramelize the apples: Cut each quarter of apple into 5 or 6 slices, each about 1/4 inch thick. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter. Add the apples and 1/4 cup sugar and over medium high heat, sauté the apples until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples will be very soft. Allow to cool slightly. Spread evenly over the baked crust.
4. In an electric mixer, using the paddle, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is not grainy and there are no lumps. Stop the machine occasionally and scrape down the sides and under the paddle. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Scrape in the melted white chocolate and mix just until combined. Pour over the apples. (The filling will only reach about 1/3 up the sides of the pan.) Tap the pan gently against the countertop to level.
5. Wrap heavy duty foil (or 2 layers of regular foil) tightly around the outside of the pan and set the pan in the center of a large baking dish. Pour enough hot water into the larger dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes. The center will still be little soft, but that’s okay. Remove the foil and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until firm. (at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.)
6. Carefully release the sides of the cheesecake pan. Serve as is or, if desired, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate and drizzle over top of cake. To slice, dip a sharp knife into warm water and then cut the cake.
This is a particularly rich cake, so cut into small slices and serve with a few fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries or a combination of berries.
I find the easiest way to melt the white chocolate is to break it up into small pieces and place it in a small cup or bowl. Place the cup in the microwave oven, cover with a paper towel, and heat the chocolate, 30 seconds at a time, stopping the oven and stirring the chocolate, continuing to heat until melted. It shouldn’t take more than two or three 30-second periods.
Makes 12-16 servings.
Date: November 18, 2002-Recipe revised May 12, 2007