I have a plan for us.
A plan so utterly foolproof that we are not going to stress about a single calorie this holiday weekend! And no….this plan does not involve tequila or amphetamines. And especially does not involve mixing the them together in a large cranberry margarita and calling it a night.
One of my pilates instructors gave us some pearls of holiday eating wisdom last week that went something along the lines of “if it ain’t homemade, don’t eat it!”.
And I thought…HELLO! GENIUS! It is so true that apple pie bought from the supermarket is just YUCK. Flavorless crust. Filling that is not infused with sweat, blood and LOVE (and um…strands of really long curly dark brown hair…) No one needs that.
AND because no one in my family bakes except for me. I’ll be eating exactly two slices of summin’ summin’ on Thanksgiving. No more, no less. Fine. I was set.
But. (And there’s always a but.)
Then I started daydreaming about all the Thanksgiving pies out there. And I started getting really sad. Because that meant that pecan pie and cheesecake and apple pie were not going to be eaten on the big day! And really, what is the point of eating a Thanksgiving meal if you don’t gain at least a pound. What else are you going to have to complain about from now until Christmas? Seriously.
Solution – just make all the pies yourself! Then you are officially allowed to eat them. All of them. No holds barred.
Which I seriously considered doing for about 24 hours until I realized this was not exactly the mentality that good old Kristen was going for when she led us through The Hundred and Rolling Like a Ball.
So I did the next best thing. Which was just combine all the pies. Into one monster of a Thanksgiving dessert.
You can thank me when you step on the scale on Friday morning.
This pie has it all. A graham cracker crust, followed by a layer of homemade caramel and pecans that tastes JUST LIKE pecan pie, followed by an apple pie filling, followed by cheesecake, followed by homemade whipped cream and a topping of homemade caramel.
I brought it to a grad school potluck and it was the only dessert that anyone ate. All the chocolate cupcakes and cookies and apple cakes went completely untouched. Proof that this pie is saving you calories. I bet you can’t say that about the pecan pie your cousin picked up at the A&P a mere five minutes before arriving at your house.
I should also mention that instead of using butter in the pie crust and apple filling, I used Melt, which is a buttery spread that was sent to me by the company to review. Melt is made up of a blend of healthy cooking oils, including organic virgin coconut oil, organic flaxseed oil, organic palm fruit oil, and organic canola oil. And the best part is, that it can replace butter tbsp for tbsp in baked goods! When eaten plain, it has a hint of coconut flavor to it (which I love) but when added into baked goods, that is completely unnoticeable. All in all, I think it’s a great butter substitute and way to reduce the bad fats in your baking without sacrificing flavor or texture.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie, adapted from Annie’s Eats
- For the caramel
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter (or Melt spread!), melted
- 1/2 cup caramel
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- For the crust
For the apple filling
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter (or Melt spread!)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
For the cheesecake
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the topping
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3-4 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup caramel
- Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium and continue to boil until the mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- For the caramel:
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the side. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
For the filling:
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apples and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.
For the cheesecake:
- Reduce the heat of the oven to 350. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for four hours.
- To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Swirl caramel sauce over whipped cream.
Disclaimer – Although I received these products for free, I did not receive any monetary compensation for doing this review. My thoughts and feelings on them are entirely my own.