With autumn setting in, it’s time to start your fall baking. That’s where this Harvest Apple Cheese Tart comes in. It’s part cheesecake, part tart and captures all the flavors of autumn. The cream cheese base is a nod to cheesecake with its pumpkin spice-like flavors. The topping is a sweet combination of apples, brown sugar and raisins (or cranberries, depending on your tastes), simmered and thickened for a few minutes.
Harvest Apple Cheese Tart
For the crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up
2 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the topping
2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup golden raisins (or cranberries or cherries)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, optional
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with baking spray.
To make the crust, in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, then pulse together, adding cold water as needed until a meal forms that sticks together easily when you squeeze it.
Press the mixture into the prepared tart pan, making sure to press the dough up the sides. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn golden and the center is slightly firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
While the crust cools, prepare the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, vinegar and powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the cooled tart shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate while making the topping.
To make the topping, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine the apple slices, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, vinegar and raisins. Cook until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Add this mixture to the skillet, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Spoon the apples over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.