Saturday, August 18, 2012

Personal Apple Pie Cheesecakes with Caramel Sauce

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Warning:  I am pretty darn proud of how these turned out, so I am going to shamelessly photo-bomb this post with pictures of the cheesecake.  You have been warned.  You will either need to deal with it or stop reading it right now :)

All right, now that is out of the way.  

I warned you....Lots of pictures :)
This weekend is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Her favorite dessert as far as I have been informed of is cheesecake.  Sadly, since that is the case, I usually make her the same cheesecake every year.  This year, I decided to take the extra time and rack my brain for any variations on cheesecake that I thought would make it a little bit more special for her.  I knew she liked caramel, and apple pie, so I thought about how I could integrate those things into her favorite dessert, and still have it be something that would turn out OK.  This is what I came up with.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  I like to make things so that she can freeze them or partition then out so that it lasts longer, so I thought I would find another use for my wonderful King Arthur Flour hamburger bun pan (which I LOVE), and make personal size cheesecakes in it.  Since it isn't a spring form pan, I cut strips of parchment paper and laid two crossed over each other in each well of the pan for (hopefully) easy removal.  See the picture below. 

Love love love my King Arthur Flour hamburger bun pan.  Nothing sticks and it cooks beautifully and can be used for so so so many things!
Close up of the parchment tabs and cooked cheesecake.

This is what they looked like after they were baked.  I stuck them in the fridge after they cooled on the counter for a while, and when I tried to pull one out this morning, I just lifted by the parchment paper pieces and it came right out.
When life hands you extra cheesecake batter....for goodness sake don't waste it! Make more crust and bake it in something!
It ended up making so much filling that I quickly made a second batch of crust, did the same thing with a 9" round cake pan (once again, not a spring form, so I used parchment strips, just a lot more of them), and ended up dumping the rest of the batter in to this.  It was exactly the perfect amount.  As you can tell, this makes a ton, but it will depend on what you decide to bake it in.

I know cheesecake can be intimidating, but I promise, it is fairly forgiving, specially if you are not  concerned with a little cracking on top, which will not affect flavor in any way.  Give it a try, it is worth it.  I will give some notes on different pan ideas at the end of the recipe, and a few different baking options depending on the pan you use. 

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Personal Apple Pie Cheesecakes with Caramel Sauce
(This recipe will make 12 personal size ones done in a hamburger bun pan that has 1 1/2" deep wells that are 4" across)*

Ingredients:

Crust:
  •  4 cups ground graham crackers (about 1 box)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
  • 3 Tbs granulated sugar
Filling:
  • 2 (8 oz.) blocks neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese), softened
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups fat free plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can apple pie filling
Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup 2% evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions:

Crust:
  1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2.  In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lay two parchment strips across each other in each well of the pan to form an X.
  3. Spoon the crumbs into the pan wells and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and up the sides (the paper may curl in on it, but once you get the crumbs pressed in, it should hold the paper open more). 
  4. Bake in oven for 6 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly. 
  5. Place about a tablespoon of apple pie filling in the bottom of each well, on top of the baked crust, and spread to cover the bottom.
Filling:
  1. In  a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the neufchatel cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes (the higher speed you beat it on, the lighter the cheesecake will be, so if you want a dense cake, beat on low speed for the minimum amount of time needed to fully incorporate ingredients)
  2. Add greek yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix well.  Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not over beaten. Pour the filling into the apple pie filling covered, crust-lined pan wells, most of the way full.
  3. Place in oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle in the center just a bit (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook.  Remove from oven.  Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Remove from pan by lifting the cheesecake out by the parchment strips slowly and gently.
Caramel Sauce:
  1. Place sugar and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil heating on high. 
  2. Boil on high until the sugar dissolves and eventually turns a deep amber color, swirling occasionally to distribute the color, but do not stir. About 10-12 minutes
  3. Once desired color is attained, remove from heat and CAREFULLY add the evaporated milk.  It will boil violently, release hot steam, and sputter, so be carefully and add slowly.  Stir constantly until all the milk is added and it has stopped boiling and is well incorporated.  Add vanilla and mix.
  4. Let cool in pan.  Once it is cool enough to handle, spoon over refrigerated cheesecake as desired.  
  5. Store remaining in fridge in air tight container for up to a week.  Reheat in microwave to make it pourable.
Rarely, if ever, have I had pictures come out of my food that I like.  I like.


*Notes:
  • If you don't have a deep welled hamburger bun pan, similar sized ramikins can be used.  Use the same parchment paper technique for easy removal.  Regular sized muffin pans can be used too, it will probably make about 24 of them.  Two 9" cake pans (about 2-3" deep) can also be used.  When filling up anything for cheesecakes, it will rise so do not fill all the way to the top.
  • The 9" cake pan baked for about 45-50 minutes, if you decide to go that route.
  • If you have a spring form pan, by all means, use it.  You can cut the crust recipe in half if you have a 9 or 10" spring form pan and just want to make one large cheesecake.
  • I know the best way to bake a cheesecake is to do it in a water bath, but I did not have a pan that would fit my hamburger bun pan in so I opted to do the method of baking at a slightly lower temperature.  The personal sized cheesecakes had no cracking problems on top what so ever.  The large one started cracking on the top around the edges slightly by the end, but after it cooled, they sealed up and you can't tell.  We are smothering it with caramel sauce, so what difference does it make anyways?  The cheesecake came out wonderfully creamy, so if you don't have a pan for a water bath, don't worry.  I am trying to make this as user friendly as possible.
  • If your dissolved sugar mixture is really grainy by the time it starts to get some color, add 1/2 cup of water to it and stir to dissolve the sugar, return to a boil and continue with the recipe.  You can also add a bit of corn syrup to help also. 
  • If you have never made a cheesecake, they look a bit undercooked when they are done, a bit wiggle still in the center.  It is ok.  It will set up in the fridge the rest of the way.  Just make sure it wiggles like jello, and not like a bucket of water being shaken (too loose).
  • This cheesecake is much lower in fat and calories than regular cheesecake so it will be creamier band lighter.  Less guilt on going back for seconds I say!

Last one, I promise.
 Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section.  If I don't have an answer, I will try to find it for you from someone else who does.

Enjoy, and let me know if you make it how you like it!




45 comments:

  1. What an Awesome recipe! Theses look delicious and I love the individual sized cheesecakes. Pinning & Sharing ... Have a wonderful weekend :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for pinning and sharing!

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  2. Hi Lindsay,
    This is an amazing. I am going to make this for my Mom's birthday. She will love this.
    Thanks for visiting my blog Adorned From Above. I will be linking with your party tomorrow. It would be great if you link with my party this Wednesday again. I would love to have you. also, it would be great if you folloe me if your not already. I am your newest follower.
    Debi
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was definitely following already :) Thanks for following!

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  3. O-M-G
    What a delicious looking cake!!
    I just looooove your recipe
    I'm pinning this too :)

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  4. What a fantastic variation of a regular cheesecake. I can't wait to make this for fall. Pinning! :)

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  5. Hopping over here from For Love of Cupcakes. Wow, this looks amazing! Thanks for the detailed recipe.

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  6. Came over from Manic Monday and glad I did. These look amazing, perfect for fall.

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  7. Those are GORGEOUS and they look amazingly delicious! Pinning now.
    Sarah

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  8. Oh my heck! These look absolutely mouth watering! Great job! I need a hamburger bun pan!

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    Replies
    1. thanks! You could do them with a jumbo muffin pan or a regular muffin pan too, there just wont be a ton of room for filling, but I am sure it would work.

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  9. Even though I am not a fan of cheesecake, this looks delicious! Your photobombing worked, even I am tempted to try cheesecake!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at Mom's Test Meal Mondays!!

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    Replies
    1. I am so glad the shameless photobombing helped tempt you :)

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  10. Oh my goodness! These are on the must make list at my house. Cheesecake is one of my FAVORITE sweet treats. I've never even thought of making it similar to an apple pie. What a great concept! Thank you so much for sharing on Marvelous Mondays. Please note, I recently changed my blog name from Jam's Corner to This Gal Cooks. My new web address is www.thisgalcooks.com

    I hope to see you at next week's party. :)

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know, I have your new site on my link party list so your good :)

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  11. oh that looks like a perfect combination for my family. Husband loves apple pie, I can't live without cheesecake! here you have two in one! wonderful!!!

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  12. I shared this goodness on my FB page... Thank you so much for visiting my party!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing this on your facebook!!

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  13. This looks incredible. I will be trying this very soon. Thanks for sharing. I am your newest follower. I'd love for you to stop by Posed Perfection sometime for a visit and maybe even a follow back. Have a great week!
    Blessings,
    Nici

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  14. These look delicious! I love the personal size. And, yes, your pictures are fabulous!

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  15. What an amazing creation! I love single serving sizes. Your mil must love you more than ever before. =) Nice going!

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  16. Thanks for sharing this on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you’ll be back again this week with some more great ideas!
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com

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  17. YES PLEASE!!! These sound so amazing. I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    -mandi

    http://mommys-love.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I added your button to my link party page, and am following you via FB, would love for you to do the same, your recipes look great! Feel free to share them at my link party sundays!

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    2. Sorry, Following Via Pinterest*

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  18. Looks so yummy! And I love King Arthur and didn't know they had that pan! Looking for it now :) Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. It is their hamburger pan. Best quality pan I have ever owned! No nonstick spray needed, nothing sticks, no matter what, it is unbelievable!

      Delete
  19. Mega Yum! No doubt this was a wonderful treat:@)

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  20. Oh those look fantastic!! Cheesecake is my FIL's favorite dessert, so I might just have to give this a try for his birthday next month!

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  21. Love Cheesecakes and this sounds so delicious. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.
    http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com

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  22. these look amazing! I love that you were able to combine greek yogurt and low fat cream cheese!!!

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  23. Wow, these look delightful. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. This recipe will be FEATURED on Tasty Thursdays this week on The Mandatory Mooch. I hope you will link up again. The party will be live tonight. www.mandatorymooch.blogspot.com

    Thanks, Nichi

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  24. I'm tempted to lick my screen these look so delicioius!

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  25. I am gaining weight just looking at it. Thanks for the recipe and partying at Snips and Spice.

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  26. These are evil... just plain evil! LOL! Thanks for linking this recipe on my blog. I definitely want to try this. I love cheesecake.

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  27. Those are insanely delicious looking!!! What an awesome idea to use the hamburger pan to make mini cheesecakes...I must find one of those pans:-)

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  28. OhMyGoodness! LOVE this, Lindsay! I'll be sharing it, pinning it, and anything else I can think of! :) Michele at La Belle Cuisine

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  29. If you absolutely must make the apples, then purchase caramel in the confectionary store and ask the store clerk for suggestions for which chocolate to use.

    Caramel Glaze

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