With the weather finally resembling that of the winter months, why not cosy up with a slice of this spiced Spiced Apple and Yoghurt Cheesecake Crumble and tune into the sound of winter’s first drizzle outside.
I definitely like the idea as I’m finding winter jackets a little tight-fitting around my burgeoning baby bump. It’s comfort dessert at its best – with a generous layer of light yoghurt cheesecake topped with lightly stewed cinnamon, vanilla and clove apples. The crumble on top could justifiably be blamed on pregnancy cravings, but since I’m yet to experience any, I’ll say it’s more of a learned creature-comfort.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the cake, is indeed the actual apple layer because it’s made using Harris Farm Markets’ expanding line of imperfect picks produce. You see these Granny Smiths have been saved from going straight from the trees to the garbage heap in a bid to reduce food waste and reward farmers for their hard work. Why were they destined to go there?
Well, they apparently are less aesthetically pleasing – some are smaller, some covered in tiny freckles others perhaps with a small bulge. None of these qualities affect the wonderful flavor of autumn that apples bring to us or texture which remains crunchy and crisp. The added benefit for us, is the more affordable price so that even those on a stricter budget can afford to enjoy nature’s bounty in season.
As for the cake, it is best enjoyed the next day as the cheesecake layer sets. You can use lactose-free yoghurt and cream cheese here so that when coupled with a gluten-free base and crumble it can be quite an adaptable treat. It might look like a lot of ingredients but it is one of the easiest cheesecakes you’ll ever make. Be mindful that the cheesecake crumble will be of a fairly soft, creamy consistency, especially when being served still warm. It is just as delicious refrigerated overnight when the flavours have had a good chance to mingle.
PS Don’t discard the apple peels – cook them in 4 cups of water for 15 minutes, then blend for a delicious and waste-free “apple nectar” drink which can be enjoyed warm or refrigerated. It’s a trick I’ve shared in The Wholesome Cook book for using up leftover poaching pear peels as well.
Spiced Apple and Yoghurt Cheesecake Crumble
For the Spiced Apple Layer
- 4 (about 700g / 1.5lb) Granny Smith apples - I used Imperfect Picks apples
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons water
For the Base and Crumble
- 1 cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 120 g coconut oil or butter, softened
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons rice syrup or honey
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the Yoghurt Cheesecake Layer
- 250 g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 500 g thick Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup rice malt syrup or honey
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a square baking tin with baking paper.
- Peel apples, cut into quarters and remove core. Chop each quarter into 2cm chunks. Place in a saucepan with remaining apple layer ingredients, cover and bring to a simmer. Remove lid and cook, stirring for 5-7 minutes for the apples to soften a little around the edges. Turn off the heat and set the apples aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the base and crumble mixture. In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, baking powder cinnamon and coconut oil or softened butter. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until well incorporated. Mix water and rice syrup or honey until the honey dissolves and add to the flour mixture. Work the liquid into the pastry until it resembles a slightly formed dough.
- Use 2/3 of the mixture for the base, press firmly into the base and corners of the baking tin making sure the base is flat and of uniform thickness around. Please in the fridge for 5 minutes to chill. If using, add the chopped walnuts to the remaining crumble mixture and set aside.
- Meanwhile, using an electric mixer or whisk, in a large bowl combine the cheesecake layer ingredients until smooth.
- Remove the tin from the fridge, dot the base around with a fork and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and pour in the cheesecake mixture flattening the top with a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes. Once the cheesecake layer is set (it will a little seem wobbly), top with the stewed apples and remaining crumble mixture, mixed with the nuts, if using. Bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve warm or remove from oven and allow to chill on a wire rack for a few hours before refrigerating and serving the cheesecake crumble cold. Be mindful that the cheesecake will be of a fairly soft, creamy consistency, especially when still warm.