Apple Cheese Tart, a New England farmer style dessert

Apple cheese tart, which is  cheesecake with a fruit topping by another name, is a favorite dessert at the October Country Inn that we often serve our guests with our French Country dinner.
A bite from a slice of this delicious pastry is a journey across the range of your taste buds.  First stop is the spiced tartness of the sliced apple topping quickly followed by the calming softness of the mildly sweet cream cheese filling, and finishing up with the crunchy richness of the butter-cookie crust.  Sound good?

The apple peeler, corer, slicer that we use.

Making this dessert involves  a few items that may not be found in your kitchen.  One such item is a 10 inch spring-form pan.  This two-part circular pan has a latch on the side piece that allows the side to be opened in order to gracefully separate the pastry from the pan.  This also allows easier removal of the pastry from the bottom piece because, with the side removed, a thin, long spatula blade inserted between the crust and pan bottom allows for the complete extraction of the cheesecake in one glorious piece.

Crust mixture of flour, sugar, vanilla, and butter in the food processor ready to be transferred to the spring-form pan for baking.

We also find that a stand-along mixer, a food processor, and an apple peeler, corer, slicer are indispensable items.  You can get by without all but the food processor, but if this is a dessert you might want to add to your repertoire, it’s definitely worthwhile acquiring these really cool kitchen tools.
This recipe is divided into three parts, the crust, the filling, and the topping.
Ingredients for the crust are:
  • 1/2 cup chilled, unsalted butter diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Baked crust cooling on a rack.


Put the sifted flour, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor with a knife mixing blade and mix  thoroughly.  After mixed, add the chilled, cubed butter and mix by pulsing until a coarse meal like mixture is achieved.

Transfer mixture to a spring-form pan, spread to an even thickness, and pat down with your fingertips, especially around the edge of the pan.  Put crust in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Cream cheese filling in the mixer.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling.  Ingredients for the filling are:

  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream both together until smooth and uniform.  Place both eggs in a small mixing bowl, add the vanilla, and lighly mix before adding to the mixing bowl along with the cream cheese sugar mixture.  Mix all this together until smooth and uniform.  Set aside while preparing the topping.

Apple slices tossed with sugar cinnamon mix.

Ingredients for the topping are:

  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix the sugar, ground cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Chop the pecans into small pieces.  Cut the peeled, cored, and sliced apples in half, place them in a large bowl, add the sugar cinnamon mixture and toss until the apple slices are evenly coated.

The finished apple cheese tart fresh out of the oven.

By this time the crust will have cooled enough so that a piece of aluminum foil can be wrapped around the bottom and side of the spring-form pan.  Add the filling mixture on top of the baked crust in the spring-form pan and spread it around until its a uniform thickness and level.   Place the coated apple slices around the outer edge by hand, one slightly overlapping the other.  Repeat for the smaller inner circle.  Sprinkle the chopped pecan pieces over the top.  Place in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, just turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees, without opening the door, and bake for another 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven when done and let cool until it settles to about half its height.  Serve in 3 or 4 hours if you can’t wait, or refrigerate until cool before serving.  It’s delicious either way.