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It’s been a while (slightly more than 2 years, to be precise) since I came up with the recipe for this cheesecake.  Caramelised apples are paired with raisins & pecans, atop a Chai-spiced cookie crust. The combination is then swathed in a smooth creamy filling, brightened with a touch of lemon. The fork-tender apples and crunch from the pecans provide textural contrast to the luscious melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake. Warm, delicately spiced and comforting. Definitely, one of my favourites. 

This is what I like to believe, a more ‘diet-friendly’ treat. Perfect for those who hate cloyingly sweet or guilt-laden cheesecakes but still want to satisfy their dessert cravings.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

For the crust, combine 2 cups cookies crumbs, 1 tsp Chai tea (finely ground), 3 T brown sugar, 60g melted butter. Press evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 7 inch springform pan.

In a deep saucepan, combine 5 T brown sugar and 2 T water and heat until it turns a light amber. Toss 1 cup of apple (I use a mixture of crunchy lady apples and tart granny smiths) in a mixture of 2 tsp cinnamon and a shot of calvados. Pour the apples into the caramel and add 1 T butter + handful of raisins. Cook until apples are slightly tender. Drizzle in a little white wine, reduce until thickened. Cool and stir in a handful of toasted, chopped pecans/walnuts.

For the filling, whisk together 450g cream cheese, 2/3 cup creme fraiche, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 eggs. Split half a vanilla bean, scrap out the seeds and mix it in very well. (2 tsp pure vanilla extract would work, as well) Add in juice & zest of 1 lemon. Fold in a smidgen of flour, say 2 T. Spread the apple mixture over the base of crust, pour cheesecake batter over. Bake in a bain marie at 160C until just set.

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