Apple Butter & Rum Cheesecake



apple butter & rum cheesecake2Imagine a creamy cheesecake swirled with apple butter and adorned with a brown sugar rum topping, and you’ll understand how self-indulgent I felt when I dipped my fork in for that first bite…especially since it was only 9:00 in the morning. Hey – you have to get photos when the lighting is good, and I couldn’t let that slice of heaven go to waste, right?



Apple Butter & Rum Cheesecake coverThis is true company fare, guaranteed to get some “oohs” and “ahhs”. I’ll admit right now that I’m not much of a cheesecake lover (this is my first cheesecake blog in 3 years) but I absolutely went crazy over this. The subtle sweetness of the apple butter counteracts the tangy cheese flavor, and the topping? Well, I could just eat it with a spoon.

Scooping leftover topping out of the pan and into my mouth.

Scooping leftover topping out of the pan and into my mouth.

If you don’t have any apple butter on hand, you can do what I did and use a jar of applesauce to make your own. Just add sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to taste, and then cook it down slowly on medium low heat, stirring often. I usually get impatient and crank up the heat after a while; this works well, as long as you have a tall pan and a long spoon (because the mixture will spit) and you’re willing to stir constantly for 5 minutes or so. Cook it until you can run a spatula on the bottom of the pan and the apple mixture doesn’t fill in the space you created.

Fuzzy picture - sorry! But you can see it needs to be pasty, not juicy.

Fuzzy picture – sorry! But you can see it needs to be pasty, not juicy.

Try some on one of the leftover graham crackers.

Try some on one of the leftover graham crackers.

The goal of making a cheesecake is to have it chilled and plated without a single crack. I’m not a perfectionist; that’s what toppings are for! This didn’t crack, but the spots where I brought the swirled apple butter to the surface sank just a bit. This isn’t a problem though, because the whole thing is covered with a thick layer of topping.┬áSee? No pressure.Apple Butter & Rum Cheesecake3

Apple Butter & Rum Cheesecake
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Ideally you will want to use a springform pan that is 8-1/2". If you like a thinner cheesecake, use one that is 9-1/2" (as pictured in this post).
Ingredients
  • GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • CHEESECAKE:
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate (thaw, but don't add water!)
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • TOPPING:
  • 1½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup rum (I used dark, spiced rum)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Place one rack near the bottom and one in the middle or just above middle.
  2. Grease an 8-1/2" springform pan. (You may use a 9-1/2" pan - cheesecake will not be as tall.) Place a strip of parchment around inside ring, trapping it with the bottom of the pan if possible before latching.
  3. Combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter until thoroughly combined. With the help of a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup, press the mixture firmly and evenly into pan.
  4. Place in upper rack of oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove carefully and place on a rack.
  5. Fill a large cake pan with 1 inch of hot water and place on bottom rack to heat while you are mixing the cheesecake.
  6. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese well - for at least 2 minutes.
  7. Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping the bowl often.
  8. Add the apple juice concentrate, flour, salt, and the sour cream, beating until combined.
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until each is incorporated. Don't over-mix!
  10. Pour mixture over crust in pan.
  11. Put the apple butter in a pastry bag (or plastic zipper bag with tip cut off) and swirl throughout the cheesecake mixture, bringing the tip from the bottom to the top of the batter several times.
  12. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  13. After 15 minutes, WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN DOOR, lower the heat to 325. Bake for 1 hour. don't remove the cheesecake, but wiggle it gently. It should be just slightly jiggly in the center.
  14. Turn oven off and prop door slightly open (I use a wooden spoon handle) for 1 hour.
  15. Move cheesecake to a rack and cool completely.
  16. Move to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours. (Overnight is better!)
  17. Remove the ring of the pan. Use a long flat spatula to loosen the crust from the bottom pan and slide it onto a serving plate.
  18. Generously pour warm topping over the top. You can serve the cheesecake as soon as the topping is firm, or refrigerate it for later.
  19. TOPPING:
  20. In a tall pan, combine the brown sugar, milk, and butter. Stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes.
  21. Remove from heat and wait a minute for the bubbles to calm down. Stir in the rum.
  22. Add the powdered sugar and cinnamon and whisk briskly until mixture thickens and a spoonful drizzled over the top keeps its shape for 10 seconds. (About 5 minutes.) It should be thick but pourable.

Line the sides of the greased pan with parchment.

Line the sides of the greased pan with parchment.

Press the crust firmly and evenly into the pan.

Press the crust firmly and evenly into the pan.

Use a pastry bag to swirl in the apple butter.

Use a pastry bag to swirl in the apple butter.

Baked and chilled, ready to add topping.

Baked and chilled, ready to add topping.

Boiling the topping.

Boiling the topping.

Add booze and powdered sugar, then briskly whisk (I love saying that!) until a drizzle holds its shape for 10 seconds.

Add booze and powdered sugar, then briskly whisk (I love saying that!) until a drizzle holds its shape for 10 seconds.

Pour topping over chilled cheesecake. Dump it on generously!

Pour topping over chilled cheesecake. Dump it on generously!

Spread gently to the edges, adding more if needed. Let it drip!

Spread gently to the edges, adding more if needed. Let it drip!

It's okay if it drips over the sides!

It’s okay if it drips over the sides!

Let the icing firm up and cut yourself a big slice. Add a dollop of whipped cream if you’d like…or even a spoonful of vanilla ice cream. It will remind you a lot of apple pie.

Mmmmmm.

Mmmmmm.

And just so you know, the recipe for the topping is very generous. If you have some left over you can:

  1. Eat it with a spoon, directly out of the pan
  2. Reheat it (add a little rum if it’s too thick) and pour it over ice cream.
  3. Stir it into boiling water for an improvised hot buttered rum. (Leave a little space for more rum!)
  4. Stir it into sauteed apples and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  5. Eat it with a spoon (oh, did I say that already?)

Cheers! Lorinda

Pumpkin Pecan Pinwheels



pumpkin pecan spiralsThis year I’m greeting Fall with hot coffee in one hand and a Pumpkin Pecan Pinwheel in the other!

These aren’t slam-dunk cookies to make in a hurry, no sirree. These are “impress-your-mother-in-law” cookies, not something to throw together before the kids get home from school in an hour.

It’s not that they’re difficult to make – they’re just a little time consuming because this dough must be chilled thoroughly before baking. You’ll have to mix the two batters and chill them for two hours, roll them up together and freeze for one hour before slicing and baking.

In this case, patience will be rewarded with gorgeous spicy pumpkin cookies with a swirl of chewy pecan…worth the effort, right?


Pumpkin pecan pinwheels horiz

The pecan filling is sort of magical. It gets spread out on the rolled up pumpkin cookie dough, and is – well – sloppy looking. Even after being sent to the freezer for an hour time-out, it oozes a bit when you slice the roll, and it’s hard not to think you’ve really messed up. Trust me! The egg whites in the pecan mixture cause it to puff up just perfectly, holding the cookie together in a most delicious way.

The meringue-like filling puffs and fills the spiral.

The meringue-like filling puffs and fills the spiral.

I like to put a light glaze on the cookies after they’ve cooled. Simply whisk water into 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until it’s fairly thin, then brush it on each cookie. Allow the glaze to dry completely before you put the cookies into an airtight container.

Here’s something I learned about these cookies: THEY TASTE MUCH BETTER THE SECOND DAY! Seriously, they do. Tuck them into an container or put them on a plate and cover them with foil or plastic wrap. The flavors blend and are more intense on Day 2, and they’re also softer. So now I guess what I’m telling you (I know…bossy, bossy, bossy) is that you not only have to plan on having plenty of time to make the cookies, you should plan ahead and make them a day before you need them.

Still worth it!

Pumpkin Pecan Pinwheels
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This recipe makes 18 large cookies, or 24 medium cookies. Make sure you have plenty of time for the chilling process, and remember that they taste even better the second day!
Ingredients
  • COOKIE DOUGH:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • PECAN FILLING:
  • 1 large egg and 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped, toasted pecans (Toast by stirring in a skillet over low heat for 5 minutes or in the microwave for 90 seconds, stirring several times.)
  • GLAZE (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Water
Instructions
  1. COOKIE DOUGH:
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  5. Stir the pumpkin and sour cream together.
  6. Beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the wet, add alternately, scraping bowl each time.
  7. Dough will be very soft and sticky. Place in a small bowl, cover, and chill for at least 2 hours.
  8. PECAN FILLING:
  9. Beat egg and egg whites until frothy.
  10. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly. Beat for 3 minutes. (Important - don't skip this step!)
  11. Add vanilla, salt, and pecans and stir well.
  12. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  13. On generously floured parchment, roll dough into 10-inch by 13-inch rectangle.
  14. Stir pecan mixture and spread over the dough, almost to the edges.
  15. For large cookies, begin rolling from the short end. For smaller cookies, begin rolling from the long end, brushing excess flour from the roll as you proceed.
  16. Roll up in the parchment and place the roll on a baking sheet. Put in the freezer for 1 hour.
  17. Heat oven to 375 F.
  18. With a sharp knife, cut into slices approximately ¼-inch to ⅓-inch thick and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Gently coax any flat sides into a round shape!
  19. Bake for approximately 14 minutes, or until light golden brown.
  20. Cool on baking rack.
  21. When cool, combine enough water with the powdered sugar to make a thin glaze. Brush onto cookie with a pastry brush. Allow cookies to dry completely before sealing in container.

Make sure you toast the pecans; then chop them finely.

Make sure you toast the pecans; then chop them finely.

Spread the pecan mixture on the rolled dough.

Spread the pecan mixture on the rolled dough.

Roll, roll, roll!

Roll, roll, roll!

Baked to a delicate golden brown.

Baked to a delicate golden brown.

See? Not hard at all. I’m thinking they’d be wonderful dunked in hot cocoa; I may have to give that a try.
Happy Fall! Hang around, because I’ve had one of those middle of the night brainstorms that may come together soon. Hope so, because it involves apples. And pastry. And caramel. And, hint: it’s not a pie.

Lorinda