"Our holiday pie combines our favorite desserts — cheesecake and apple pie," says Cathy Kleros, owner of Southbury Baking Company in Oxford. "It’s unique and has all the warm flavors of the holidays. We love it because it has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and it can be made two days in advance, which is always a good thing."
Caramel apple cheesecake pie
Makes: One 9-inch deep-dish pie
Time: Prep time: 45 minutes; bake: 1 hour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for diced apples
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced into half-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons (2½ ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
Caramel sauce (alternatively, use Ghirardelli gourmet caramel sauce)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
- Powdered sugar to finish (approximately 3 tablespoons)
Make the caramel sauce (can be made up to 2 days in advance of serving)
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and salt and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring every so often until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until deeply golden, without stirring, 4 to 5 minutes more. (If you’re using a candy thermometer, you want it to reach 350 degrees).
2. Once caramel is a deep copper color, turn off heat and immediately stir in cream and butter. Mixture will bubble up so be careful!
3. Let cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a container to cool completely. Sauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Make the pie
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Make the crust. In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) blend the flour, sugar and salt. Cut softened butter into cubes and add. Mix until dough comes together — it will be smooth, not crumbly. With fingers, press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish tin or pie pan about a quarter-inch thick. Wrap any extra to use another time. Prick the bottom with a fork, forming small holes. Chill in the freezer until very firm while you prepare the filling, apples and crumble.
6. Make the filling. In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) combine cream cheese and sugar. Mix till smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl and do one final mix. Put aside. Place peeled, cored and cut apples in a separate bowl and sprinkle with sugar and mix. Set aside.
7. Make crumble topping. Melt butter. While butter cools slightly, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add melted butter and mix until all butter is incorporated and large clumps form. Set aside.
8. Bake the chilled crust for 15 minutes or until bottom starts to brown slightly. Bottom will puff up after 10 minutes. Prick puffed dough with a fork and press back down with the back of a spoon. Repeat if necessary. Bake only until bottom starts to brown. It will still look half-baked, which is fine. When done, take out of the oven and immediately pour cheesecake filling in the pan. Arrange apples on top, covering the entire top. Finally, add crumble, working from the outer edge of pie to the center. Bake for 45 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles and a cake tester comes out clean. If the top starts to over-brown during baking, cover with foil. Finished pie should be medium golden brown. Cool completely before covering with foil and refrigerate.
9. Serve at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Note: Pie may be made up to two days in advance of serving, kept covered and refrigerated.
Q&A with Chef Cathy Kleros
How did you first get into cooking?
My love of baking began at the age of 4 at my mother’s side, who is an excellent baker. My best memories with her were baking and decorating holiday cookies and cakes. We always had homemade baked goods in our house and I’ve continued that tradition with my own family.
What’s your fondest memory of a holiday meal?
I was married on Thanksgiving weekend, so we decided to have an open house on Thanksgiving so our families could spend time getting to know each other better before the wedding. We had the best time laughing, telling stories and enjoying great food together. It was such a joyful and special day.
Tips on using local ingredients in holiday meals?
We always love to use local ingredients when we can. Local, fresh eggs always seem to make a cake or custard richer. Picking pumpkins from the local farm, then roasting them for pumpkin pie is always fun and makes a better pie.
When preparing a holiday feast, is it better to be a traditionalist or an innovator?
When gathering for a holiday at our home, it’s all about tradition. Everyone has their favorites and passing those recipes down to the next generation is so important. That being said, I always make one new out-of-the-box dish to keep things interesting.]
Cathy Kleros on Instagram: @southburybakingcompany