Imagine 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?
This 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.
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.
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. See? No pressure.
|Apple Butter & Rum Cheesecake|| |
- GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
- 2 cups crushed graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 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
- 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
- Heat oven to 350 F. Place one rack near the bottom and one in the middle or just above middle.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place in upper rack of oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove carefully and place on a rack.
- Fill a large cake pan with 1 inch of hot water and place on bottom rack to heat while you are mixing the cheesecake.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese well - for at least 2 minutes.
- Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping the bowl often.
- Add the apple juice concentrate, flour, salt, and the sour cream, beating until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until each is incorporated. Don't over-mix!
- Pour mixture over crust in pan.
- 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.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- 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.
- Turn oven off and prop door slightly open (I use a wooden spoon handle) for 1 hour.
- Move cheesecake to a rack and cool completely.
- Move to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours. (Overnight is better!)
- 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.
- Generously pour warm topping over the top. You can serve the cheesecake as soon as the topping is firm, or refrigerate it for later.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and wait a minute for the bubbles to calm down. Stir in the rum.
- 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.
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.
And just so you know, the recipe for the topping is very generous. If you have some left over you can:
- Eat it with a spoon, directly out of the pan
- Reheat it (add a little rum if it’s too thick) and pour it over ice cream.
- Stir it into boiling water for an improvised hot buttered rum. (Leave a little space for more rum!)
- Stir it into sauteed apples and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
- Eat it with a spoon (oh, did I say that already?)