I’m so excited to be taking The Improv Cooking Challenge with Lady Behind the Curtain this month!
October’s challenge: a baking or cooking recipe using this month’s two featured ingredients – apples and caramel.
If you know me, you know that I loooove caramel apples. So naturally, I thought of making them for this challenge since I’ve never made them myself before. But then my mind turned to homemade caramel apple popcorn after shopping for the ingredients to make these Halloween goodies and spying Orville’s caramel apple-flavored Poppycock. I bought the ingredients to invent my own recipe, but then my mind turned – again – to my ultimate fall favorite: a crumble. My favorite crumble is rhubarb to be exact, but a right crumbly crumble over cinnamon-y sugary baked apples gets me, too! For some reason, though, an apple crumble with caramel sauce just seemed too pedestrian. I wanted something new and exciting . . . so I ended up combining the apple crumble idea with an apple cheesecake idea (no springform pan required!) and deconstructed it all to make this gorgeous baked apple dessert:
- 6-8 organic Gala apples
- 1/2 cup apple cider (your kids’ apple juice would also work fine)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or try digestive biscuits)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (unless you hate cinnamon like Hubby and Granny do)
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese
- 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/6 cup sugar (that’s about 8 tsp or 2 tb + 2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 brown sugar
- 2 tb cold butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (unless – like I said above – you hate it)
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tb butter
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
While your oven is preheating to 350 degrees, core your apples and scoop out as much of the flesh as possible, while still allowing the sides of the apple to be firm. You can use a melon baller or a knife and spoon.
Make your cheesecake crust by crushing the graham crackers or digestives with a mortar and pestle – or by placing the crackers inside a plastic bag and running over them with a rolling pin – and mixing all of the ingredients together. Then, line your hollowed apples with the crust.
Tip: Make sure to use cold butter or you’ll end up with a less “crumbly” looking, softer topping like I did. (I baked with the kids, so my timing was off and the butter went soft!) It also helps to chop the butter into smaller pieces before mixing it in.
While the apples are cooling, make your caramel sauce. Melt the sugar over medium heat. Once the sugar has melted, add the butter. After the butter has melted completely, take the mixture off the heat and add in the heavy whipping cream. (This mixture will bubble so don’t be alarmed!)
Tip: Use a thick-bottomed pan to avoid burning the sugar. Also, take care not to stir too much – just enough to keep the bottom from burning.
The choice is yours!
A better name for this scrumptious autumn delight might be “Deconstructed Apple Crumble Cheesecake With Caramel Sauce.” Hubby thinks I should have named it “Apple Chumble.” What do you think?
Check out all the other great recipes from Lady Behind the Curtain’s Improv Cooking Challenge for the month of October: