Spiced Apple Walnut Cheesecake

Spiced Apple Walnut Cheesecake

Walnut Crust:
4 cups ground walnuts
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (melted)

Apple Cheesecake Batter:
11/2 cups cream cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

White Chocolate Glaze:
Fourteen 1-ounce squares white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Cinnamon Glazed Walnut Garnish:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoon water
1 3/4 cups walnut halves

To make the Walnut Crust:
Combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Press the mixture in an even layer on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set the pan aside.

To make the Apple Cheesecake Batter:
In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and applesauce together on low speed until well blended. In a small bowl stir the sugar and ground spices until well blended. Add the spiced sugar to the cream-cheese mixture. Scrape the bowl down after the addition and continue to beat on low speed until the spiced sugar is incorporated. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together to blend them, then add the eggs to the batter. Scrape the bowl down once more and continue beating until the eggs are absorbed and the batter is well blended.

Preheat oven to 325° F. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Pour the cheesecake batter into the walnut crust in the 9-inch springform pan. Place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes, or until it is set. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature. Loosen sides of springform pan and slip off
the ring.

To make the White Chocolate Glaze:
Chop the white chocolate finely and place it in a mixing bowl. Bring the cream to a rolling boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake to coat it evenly, then place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until the glaze has set, 1 to 2 hours.

To make the Cinnamon Glazed Walnut Garnish:
Combine the sugars, cinnamon and water in a skillet over high heat and stir to blend the mixture well. Bring the syrup to a boil, add the walnut halves and stir the walnuts in the syrup until the skillet is dry and the walnuts are well coated. Remove the walnuts to a piece of kitchen parchment and let them cool. Garnish the cheesecake with the glazed walnuts and serve.

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

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