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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Tarts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Fall is here and its time to start wearing a few extra layers and enjoying some yummy comfort food. I look forward to the fall months each year in anticipation for all of the apples that start flooding the markets. There are so many great varieties from sweet to tart. After making a trip up to an apple farm and seeing the granny smith apples on display I knew I needed to buy some and make this delicious apple cheesecake. But instead of making one large cake and sitting in front of it each night with a fork in hand, I opted to try and portion myself and use little tart molds I had. This would also work perfectly in a regular cheesecake springform pan or even in a large 9x13 inch glass pan; whatever you have on hand and is easier for you. 

But just making an apple cheesecake would not suffice for me! I needed to up the anty. And up it I did by adding the best brown sugar and oat streusel on top and then if that wasn't enough I drizzled each with salted caramel once out of the oven. Do I have you hooked yet?! If this dish doesn't scream Fall then I don't know what does! In fact I am thinking of making these beauties as a dessert for Thanksgiving this year!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Tarts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping-
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salted Caramel-
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly and press evenly into each of your tart molds sprayed with non stick cooking spray, or into a 9x13 inch pan lined with aluminum foil. 

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/2 cup sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour over warm crust. In a small bowl, stir together the apples, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cinnamon. Spoon over the cream cheese mixture. 

In a bowl combine all of the streusel ingredients except for the butter. Once dry ingredients are incorporated, cut in the butter until mixture is course and crumbly. Spoon streusel topping over cream cheese and apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheesecake filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from molds.

To prepare the salted caramel place sugar and water in a small pan over medium high heat. Do not stir or you will get sugar crystals, only swirl the saucepan gently. It will bubble itself into a deep amber color. Remove immediately from the heat and add the cream ( will start to bubble furiously). Stir until smooth, set aside and let cool before drizzling over your tarts. Enjoy!

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