It’s fall (ok almost it’s technically less than a week away) and it’s all about baking, well unless it’s hot out. Well or if you are just a fan of cheesecake or looking for a delicious dessert! Recently I was feeling fall flavors but it was warm and I didn’t really have time to prep and make an apple pie I whipped this Caramel Apple Cheesecake up. It’s one of my standard go to dairy free vegan cheesecake recipes that I always go to and is easy to tweak for whatever flavor I want to make, in this case caramel apple for my in laws anniversary. While it looks like a lot of work and you might be thinking what she had time to whip that up but not make a pie? Yes. I knew I was going to make it so I soaked my cashews early one morning before working out knowing I would have a little time later that day. When I had about 15-20 minutes I whipped up the crust and cheesecake. Pulsing together the crust ingredients, pressed into the pan, and than blended the cheesecake ingredients and poured it over top. Put it in the freezer and went to pick up the girls from school, take them to soccer, and do what we needed to that night. Later that night I had time to make the caramel sauce so I made that and then put it in the refrigerator to cool so it was ready a couple days later when I would finish it up for my in laws anniversary dinner. So the day of the even comes so I remove my cheesecake from the pan and spoon half of the caramel sauce on and put it back in the freezer to get tacky while I cut the apples. Than just put the apples on top, and serve. Or in the case I just made it I put it back in the freezer (to also test the apples being frozen) and went to the second soccer game of the day we had. Came back a couple hours later and grabbed the cake to take to their house, put it in the freezer there, and it was ready for dessert. Many couldn’t wait for the cheesecake to thaw and decided to eat it mostly frozen and still said it was amazing. However I wasn’t a fan of the frozen apples or the texture once they thawed, neither was my husband. Sometimes he’s pretty smart and I should listen to him, shh don’t tell him I said that. So I made another cheesecake with his original thought of cooking the apples first. So sautéed the apples and they added a whole different level of flavor, not fresh crisp caramel apple flavor I was going for but it was like apple crisp meets cheesecake, minus the crunch which I could have added but after making so many cheesecakes this week I decided not to make another one. Seriously I need people to come eat the rest of these cheesecakes, if only they disappeared as quick as the first. I’m sure it would disappear a little quicker if I let the girls have it anytime they want.
So there are choice and I decided to share them all, especially since I’ve been sharing pictures and videos on social media for the last week. I even said I would stay up all night last night to make sure the recipe was up today since a few contacted me asking if they could get it early or when it would be posted. I know I could pick just one and go with it but we all have different tastes so I figured I would just put them all out there since they are the same cheesecake, just the topping is different. Any of them can be made ahead just if you are going to freeze it with the apples I suggest to sautéed the apples first. If you want to top it right before serving you can top with fresh apple slices or warm or cold sautéed apples. So out of curiosity, what would you do?
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Makes 8″ cake, serves 12-16 servings
1 3/4c pecans halves
6 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked if dry
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP coconut oil, optional (I add this, sometimes the nuts are drier sometimes not…)
2c raw cashews, cashew pieces (soaked 4 hours or overnight)
1/3c pure maple syrup
1/2c canned full fat coconut milk (So Delicious Original Culinary Coconut Milk)
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean or 1 TBSP vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1- 11oz container So Delicious Original Culinary Coconut Milk, or a can of full fat coconut milk (So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk)
1/2c coconut sugar
1/4c pure maple syrup
1 TBSP coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt, optional
3 tart baking apples
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP coconut palm sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Granny Smith apples, sliced thin
3 TBSP lemon juice
Start by soaking your cashews in water overnight.
Caramel sauce can be made in advance (before or after making the cheesecake but at least 4 hours before you will want to serve the cheesecake) as you will want to cool it in the refrigerator before spreading on the cheesecake. In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, whisk all ingredients together until combined and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk and reduce heat to low. Simmer, maintaining a light simmer, for 25 minutes without stirring. After 25 minutes whisk, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan for any darkened caramel. Continue to simmer for 25-35 minutes until desired thickness is achieved, stirring every few minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides. Remember it will thicken some once it cools. Once desired thickness is reached remove from heat. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and whisk once again to ensure caramel is smooth. Once cooled, transfer to a glass jar or airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (within a couple days).
Prepare a 8″ spring-form pan or removable bottom pan placing lining bottom with a parchment paper circle. In a food processor pulse pecans until you have a coarse crumble. Add in cinnamon and sea salt and pulse to mix. Add pitted dates and process until the mixture comes together before adding coconut oil and processing for about 30 seconds or until well blended. Press crust into the bottom of prepared pan. Place in the freezer, while this isn’t necessary I find it helps me make sure I have a level area in the freezer ahead of time and works for doing it in steps if I’m not doing it all at once. To make cheesecake rinse and drain cashews. In a food processor, or Vitamix, pulse cashews until they are broken up as much as possible. Shake your coconut milk before measuring and add to the cashews with the maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. I find the Vitamix will make it smoother. Pour cheesecake over prepared crust and place in the freezer. Freeze for at least two hours before spreading with cooled caramel toppings. I remove the cake from the pan before spreading caramel. If topping with fresh apple slices you will want to put the caramel on about 20-30 minutes before topping with apples and serving. Stir your caramel topping and spread half of it over the cake. Freeze until ready to top with apples. For fresh apple slices slice apples and put in lemon juice mixed with water, drain and pat apples dry prior laying on top of the caramel just before serving. If making ahead and topping with the sautéed apples peel and chop apples, toss with lemon juice. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot add apples. Cook for 5-7 minutes until they start to get tender but you don’t want them mushy. Sprinkle with coconut palm sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before placing on top of the cheesecake. Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce. Freeze cheesecake until ready to serve. If serving with warm sautéed apples you will want to sautéed them about 15 minutes before serving. Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce. Enjoy!
A #vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake to fall in love with! @So_Delicious #wholefoods #inspirehealthy Click To Tweet
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