- 1-½ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 to 5 large tart baking apples
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 10-inch spring form pan with melted unsalted butter. Line bottom of pan with baking paper. Line sides of pan with a 2-inch wide strip of waxed paper. Brush paper lining with a little melted butter. Set aside.
- Combine together gingersnap cookie crumbs, light brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of prepared springform pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove pan from oven and side aside until needed. Do not turn off oven.
- Wash apples under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Peel skin and remove core. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent slices from browning. Sprinkle with light brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss lightly until coated.
- Arrange coated apples over pre-baked crust. Set aside.
- Beat cream cheese over low speed until creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in whipping cream, sour cream and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating until well-blended after each.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over apples and smoothen top.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until center of cake is nearly set but still moist. Tester inserted should come out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around sides of pan to loosen. Allow to cool completely, about 1 to 1-½ hours. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- When cake is ready to serve, remove sides of pan and peel off paper. Carefully slide cake onto a serving platter, removing paper lining as you go. Cut cake into wedges before serving.
- Drizzle each cheesecake wedge with warm caramel sauce, if desired, or serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit or berries.
- If apples are not too ripe, you can opt to place coated apples in a pan set over medium-low heat. Drizzle with a few drops of water, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool until just lukewarm before spreading over pre-baked crust.
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