For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 8 whole graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
For the Caramel Apple Filling:
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce
For the Cheesecake:
- 16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Apple Roses:
- 5 red-skinned sweet apples, such as gala apples or pink lady apples
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup or more Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray. Cover the outside of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil (or 2 layers of regular aluminum foil).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the graham crackers and sugar. Pour over melted butter and mix to combine until all of the mix is wet and easily packed together.
- Press the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the springform pan and up the sides about 1 1/2 inches. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown.
- Scatter the peeled and chopped apple on top of the graham cracker crust. Drizzle over 1/2 to 3/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce. You want enough to flavor the apples and seep into the crust, but not enough to soak the crust and make it overly sticky. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour until no clumps remain. Then, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan, on top of the apples. Smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.
- Pour about an inch of hot water into a large pan. Put the cheesecake in the oven (still at 350 degrees F) on the middle rack, and place the pan of hot water on a rack below the cheesecake. This prevents the cheesecake from cracking.
- Bake for 15 minutes, and then reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Continue to bake for 35-50 more minutes, or until the center is set. Do not remove the cheesecake from the oven. Instead, turn off the heat and crack the door of the oven to let the cheesecake cool slowly. This also prevents the cheesecake from cracking. After about an hour, you can remove the cheesecake from the oven. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to separate the cheesecake from the pan. When the cheesecake is cooled completely to room temperature, cover it and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
- When your cheesecake is ready, start making the apple roses.
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the apple cider. Stir until no granules remain. Heat over medium heat to let reduce while you make the apple slices.
- Take your 5 apples and thinly slice them using a mandoline. Then, cut the apples in half, lenth-wise, so you have long half-moon shapes. Put the apple slices in the cider mixture and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes, or until soft enough to roll them but not until they fall apart!
- Remove the apples from the liquid using a slotted spoon and let them dry and cool until you’re able to handle them.
- Pour the caramel over the cheesecake and let sit to set slightly. Remove the side of the springform pan.
- Then, take a small slice of apple and roll it tightly into a cylindrical shape. Take another slice and roll it tightly around the first one. Take another slice and begin rolling it about 1/2 way over the last apple petal. Continue wrapping each apple petal around until you have a nice-looking rose shape, being careful to hold the bottom so that the apple slices don’t loosen as you add more.
- Once you have a finished flour, press it into the caramel on top of the cheesecake, towards the edge. It should hold its shape. For added security, place a few of the chopped pecans around the apple rose. Continue until the entire circumference of the cheesecake is filled with apple flowers.
- Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans in the center of the top of the cheesecake. Drizzle over more Salted Caramel Sauce, if desired.
- Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.