Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Every Wednesday, our local newspaper's food section includes something from Eddy Browning's recipe collection.  I love reading about Inner Banks food culture and history in Eddy's column and am continually impressed with the many and varied recipes he submits from family and friends.  After eating this dessert at the famed Biltmore House Restaurant in Asheville, Eddy got the recipe from the chef and passed it on to all of us.  I couldn't wait to make this special treat.  Even with my modest tweaks, I think the Biltmore House Restaurant would approve of my version.
The pie is rich, but it's absolutely delicious and worth the trouble.  Since we're not used to overly sweet desserts, I did reduce the sugar a little, but it's still plenty sweet.  Everyone who tasted it said so.  The pecans and caramel on the bottom of the pie cook down, fusing with the crust and becoming candy-like.  The rich, candy-like and crunchy crust is the perfect counterpart to the not-too-sweet apple filling.  But there's also a cheesecake over top of the apples bringing back some of the richness.  Think that's enough?  No, not yet.  Sweetened whipped cream goes over it all, then the pie gets another hit of caramel and pecans.  Talk about decadent....  I will definitely make this one again.  A great Christmas dessert that you'll hear about all year long.
Biltmore House Restaurant Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Adapted by The Bear Cupboard
Rating:  10 out of 10 

CRUST:  1 cup crushed gingersnaps (my addition)
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 tsp. cinnamon  (I deleted the 3 Tbsp. sugar)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted + 1 Tbsp. soft butter for pan
1/2 cup caramel sundae topping
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

Heat oven to 375F.  Line bottom of a 9" round springform pan with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and butter.  Mix with fork until all crumbs are moistened.  Butter parchment and sides of pan with the 1 Tbsp. butter.  Press crumbs onto bottom and sides.  Bake 6-8 minutes, till golden in color.  Cool 10 minutes.  Pour caramel sauce over crust; sprinkle with pecans.  Refrigerate.
APPLE FILLING:  2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate (my addition)
1/4 tsp. sea salt    (I deleted the 1/2 cup light brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 X-large Rome apples, cored, peeled, sliced in thin wedges (about 1/2") (Biltmore uses Granny Smith)

Combine butter, juice, salt and cinnamon in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil and add apple slices.  Cook apples till they are done, then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet to cool.  Continue to cook juices till they are syrupy, then pour them over the apples and toss lightly to combine.  Cool slightly, then spoon the apples into the chilled crust.  Set aside.
CHEESECAKE:  8 oz. Neufchatel cheese  (Biltmore uses regular cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat oven to 350F.  Combine cheese and sugar in medium bowl.  Beat on medium speed with electric mixer till smooth, about 1 minute.  Beat in vanilla, egg and juice till again smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Spread over apples. (The cheesecake batter will not completely cover the apples.)

Bake about 30 minutes, or till cheesecake is set.  Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  When ready to serve, carefully remove springform sides, remove bottom and parchment and place pie on serving plate.  Prepare whipped cream topping.

WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:  2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar  (Biltmore uses 3-4 Tbsp and 3/4 cup heavy cream)
1/4 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
1/4 cup caramel sundae sauce
toasted chopped pecans

Chill cream, bowl and beaters in freezer for 15 minutes.  Beat cream till it thickens.  Slowly add sugar and flavoring and continue to beat till cream is stiff.  Spread over cheesecake layer.  Drizzle caramel sauce over topping and sprinkle with pecans.  Slice with a bread knife.


  1. This looks so amazing! I'm definitely going to bookmark it for my next big decadent-dessert-deserving occasion.

  2. This is a beauty with great taste. This is right for my family. I can taste it already.

  3. This is just too delicious looking. It is one of my Friday Favorite Finds.


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