It may look like a chore, but this cheesecake tart calls for a relatively straightforward preparation: First, press the crust into the tart pan. Next, mix the cream cheese filling, fill the tart shell, and bake. Finally, gild the pie with sautéed tart apples, and paint them with melted apple jelly for a jewelled effect.
1 cup finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 24 to 28 cookies)
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Vegetable cooking spray
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
3 pounds tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons apple jelly
1. Prepare Crust: Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together gingersnap cookie crumbs and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl until moist. Press crumb mixture on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
2. Prepare Filling: Beat cream cheese and next 3 ingredients at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust, spreading with an offset spatula. Place tart pan on a baking sheet.
3. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 40 minutes). Chill 8 to 12 hours.
4. Prepare Topping: Stir together apples and 1/3 cup light brown sugar in a large bowl. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture to skillet, and cook, stirring often, 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove skillet from heat, and cool apples completely (about 30 minutes).
5. Arrange apples on top of chilled cheesecake in a decorative fashion. (To achieve a rosette look, start by arranging apples in an overlapping circular pattern about 1 inch from the edge of the crust. Make a second small circular pattern inside the first. Thinly slice some of the cooked apples, curl them, and place in the center of the tart.)
6. Microwave jelly and 1 tsp. water in a small microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 20 to 30 seconds or until melted and smooth. Brush apples with half of jelly mixture.
7. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat. Broil tart 2 to 3 minutes or just until apples begin to brown. Remove from oven, and brush apples with remaining jelly mixture. Chill 1 hour before serving.
Note: Tart will hold in refrigerator overnight, but the crust will soften the longer it sits in the refrigerator.