Several weeks ago, I dragged my husband a hour west to the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains to go apple picking. At first he teased me. Then he complained about the distance. Then he gave in. And finally, when it was all said and done (and I'd promised him delicious apple desserts all season long) he conceded that we had a fun afternoon as a family, picking apples and enjoying a quiet morning in the country. After spending the next day making homemade pretzels, he got his first apple dessert of Fall. And let me tell you, this was divine!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-1/2 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 450°. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in flour and vanilla until blended. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Pour over crust. In another large bowl, toss apples with cinnamon and remaining sugar. Spoon over cream cheese layer.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 400°; bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle almonds over top; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.
This dessert is lovely chilled, but I like it best just warmed through and drizzled with caramel sauce. A scoop of vanilla on the side takes it over the top!
Recipe adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook 2011.