When it comes to the ingredients of this cheesecake, I never use light or fat-free products; they just don't work as well.
1 package of shortbread cookies (I use Lorna Doone shortbread cookies by Nabisco)
3-4 Tablespoons of melted butter
3 - 8oz. packages of Philly Cream Cheese - softened at room temperature
1- 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. sour cream
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla (not imitation)
1 can of apple pie filling
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping (any brand will do)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies in a food processor and grind to a fine consistency. Place the ground cookies in a small bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well, and press into the bottom, and half way up the sides of a 9" spring-form pan.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until the blocks of cheese are smoothed out. Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk, and combine until the mixture is smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides until the mixture has no lumps.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, and continue to blend the mixture. Add the sour cream and vanilla into the cheese mixture and blend until all the ingredients have incorporated completely. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared shortbread crust.
- On the lowest rack in the oven place a 9x13 baking pan, filled half way up with hot water (a water bath). Then, place the cheesecake pan on the rack just above it (not in the water). Bake for 55-60 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the top edge is slightly browned, and the center is still slightly soft. Cool completely on the counter, and then place in the refrigerator to chill for 4-6 hours.
- Just before serving, run a knife along the edge of the pan, and loosen the buckle of the spring-form pan to remove the side. Top with apple pie filling, sprinkle with chopped pecans, and drizzle with caramel topping.
- I also make these with several different toppings such as fresh strawberries mixed with strawberry glaze, and cherry fruit topping (when the Traverse City cherries are in season). You can also make this a "turtle" topped cheesecake by drizzling in chocolate ice-cream topping in place of the apple filling, and finishing it off with the caramel and nuts. The ideas are endless! I thank you again for considering my recipe.