Funny story about this Easily Customized Caramel-Apple Cheesecake. I made this for Thanksgiving in 2016, and was so proud of this recipe. I spent so much time during a hectic work & school week to put it together. It was glorious. Late at night, Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving, I go to pull it out of the oven and I proceed to spill it all over my entire oven. There were tears. There was whining and defeat. But, I was determined and so I persevered and scrounged up the remainder of my ingredients to put another together.
The second try survived to see the dinner table, thank goodness. It was delicious and so rewarding for me. Unfortunately, I never wrote down what I did, so this year I had to try my hand at recreating it. I am so pleased this beauty turned out because, if you know anything about me, you know I just moved to Hudson, New York where I have access to some incredible apple orchards. It has been a delicious few weeks testing it out.
My goal was to make a dessert that could fit into many different tables, no matter the dietary needs of who is eating it. So, I made the base of this Easily Customized Caramel-Apple Cheesecake vegan, dairy free and gluten free. You can easily make it paleo with only natural sweeteners. I will soon add a gluten free crust option. Learn more about swapping out ingredients to accommodate your dietary and lifestyle needs.
For the best results, prepare ahead of time. For the easiest time putting this recipe together, prepare the caramel sauce 2 days before serving and bake the day before serving. Refrigerate overnight before decorating with apples.
Dairy Free Caramel Apple Cheesecake Filling
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
- 3/4 cup dairy free yogurt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider, fresh OJ, lemon juice, or a mix
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raw white honey
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder OR
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds *optional for added nutrition*
- Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender for 2 minutes on high, until it is completely creamy.
- When all other cheesecake pieces are finished and ready for assembly, use a spatula to layer the cheesecake on top of the caramel sauce. Be careful and do not pour directly into the caramel unless you want to swirl it. For best texture and flavor results, gently layer the filling over the sauce.
- Cover the sides of the pie dish with tin foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes then finish it at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes.
- Let cool completely then refrigerate it overnight before decorating with freshly peeled and sliced apples.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crust
- 1 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup paleo flour or almond meal (this makes it extra crispy)
- 4 Tbsp cold ghee, butter, coconut oil or mix (I do 3:1 ghee:coconut oil)
- 5-8 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- With a fork or your hands, gently crumble up the ghee with the flour until you have only a couple of slightly large clumps.
- Begin incorporating the water, one Tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together.
- Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out dough and place into a pie pan. With a fork, make small pricks in the dough and bake for about 15 minutes or until it just begins to turn golden brown.
- Let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then layer in the caramel and cheesecake to bake.
- Once cheesecake is assembled, bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and bake for another 45-60 minutes.
- 6 medjool dates pitted
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup raw white honey
- 1 cup coconut cream/milk (NOT reduced fat, do not include liquid portion of the can)
- 1/2-1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder OR
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a blender, blend dates, sugar, honey, and maple syrup with coconut milk for 2 minutes on high.
- Pour into a small-medium sized saucepan with a candy thermometer.
- Turn heat on medium, low and watch the temperature rise to in between soft and hard ball temperature stages. Be careful not to stir often. If you do stir, be very gentle and do not scrape the sides or bottom. If any burning occurs with the sugar, we do not want to stir it into the caramel.
- Once your thermometer reaches desired temperature range, take off the heat and stir in sea salt flakes as well as vanilla.
- Let cool completely in the refrigerator before assembling with the rest of the cheesecake. This is great to make ahead a day or two before, so you can easily assemble the rest of the cheesecake. Do not pour into crust if hot and do not pout into a hot crust as the cheesecake crust will become mushy.