Thursday, October 14, 2010

When Pie Won't Do

We finally got in our annual apple-picking trip last weekend, over the Thanksgiving holiday Monday up here in Canada. Usually, that's the precursor for more batches of my mom's famous apple pie than most people would think humanly possible to churn out... and there will be several of them, I'm sure. But because we were fairly late in the harvest season - simply because the fruit ripened incredibly early with the hot, humid Summer weather - a lot of what would normally be considered "prime" cooking apples were a little... well, not so prime.

Don't get me wrong, they'll still make pie. More than "decent" pie, as a matter of fact. But there was just enough of our batch that were battered and scarred enough that my mom was prepared to chuck them into the compost. Instead, I figured I'd see what I could do with them after making oven-roasted apple butter like before. It really is my all-time favourite "use up" trick for leftover or almost bin-worthy apples, and it helps keep them hanging around just that little bit longer. Which is perfect for the season!

With my new bounty of concentrated, caramel-hued and lusciously velvety butter in my hot little hands (or big, cold fridge... whatever) I was faced with a myriad of options as to what to do with it. I did do the apple-butter pumpkin pies, of course... but I think I like these cheesy, dense, tall cakes better. There's just something about cheesecake that brings it above and beyond any other dessert out there, and really with the home made apple butter and the combination of toasted coconut, oats and cookie crumbs in the spiced crust, you'll be glad it's Fall all over again!

Apple Butter Cheesecake
Serves 16
¾ cup vanilla or graham cookie crumbs (GF if needed)
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup butter, melted
--
16 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple butter (sweetened)
10.5 oz (300 g) silken tofu, pureed
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp fresh-grated ginger
1 tbsp instant apple cider mix (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp sweet rice flour (or tapioca flour)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease and line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, oats, coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter, tossing with a fork to moisten.
  3. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with a layer of foil. Set aside.
  5. Turn the oven down to 325F.
  6. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, brown sugar, apple butter and tofu until well mixed.
  7. Add the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cider mix and salt and beat well.
  8. In a small dish stir together the milk, vanilla and sweet rice flour until smooth, then add to the cheese mixture and beat in.
  9. Pour into the prepared crust and tap on the counter sharply to dislodge any air pockets.
  10. Place the cake into a deep roasting pan and pour boiling water ½ way up the side of the springform.
  11. Bake for 1 hour, until the centre is mostly set.
  12. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to cool inside for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Chill overnight before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 240.2
Total Fat: 14.4 g
Cholesterol: 39.0 mg
Sodium: 153.3 mg
Total Carbs: 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 3.9 g