This Apple Crisp With Cheesecake & Pecans is not your traditional apple crisp. Think warm and bubbly cinnamon apples, buttery oat pecan topping, finished with dollops of cheesecake. It is next level good! The cheesecake layer only requires 4 ingredients, but adds so much flavor.
I love apple desserts (apple pie, apple crisp/cobbler/crumble, apple oatmeal, you get the idea). Pumpkin on the other hand I can take it or leave it. I do not like the overwhelming pumpkin spice flavor that must pumpkin sweets have. If you are the same, try my Pumpkin Bars With Oreos & Chocolate Chips. But anyways my apple lovers, you have come to the right place!
There is something so simple and cozy about cooked cinnamon apples. As soon as the weather cools down I start craving apple crisp. It is much easier than making an apple pie, but you still get the yummy sugary apple filling. Ice cream on top? Well, that is a must with any hot dessert! This recipe is no exception.
I was thinking of ways to amp up my apple crisp this year. I wanted to add some sort of creamy element to play off the traditional vanilla ice cream and apple crisp combo. Somehow (thankfully) I landed on cheesecake. I had seen a recipe for some cheesecake brownies and thought well why not add some cheesecake to my crisp.
The other thing I love about this cheesecake addition (other than the flavor) is how easy it is. It does not add many steps or ingredients to the traditional apple crisp recipe, but it really adds something exciting to this dessert.
A Cobbler vs. a Crumble vs. a Crisp
Too many words that mean (almost) the same thing. Time to explain! We will start with what these three have in common. They all typically have a cooked fruit base and some sort of topping. There is no crust underneath the fruit like a traditional pie. So then what is the difference between a cobbler, a crispy, and a crumble? Keep reading.
In my opinion cobbler is the most different out of the three. It has a biscuit dough-like topping. You pretty much make a traditional biscuit dough and form it into flatten disks to lay on top of the fruit base. There are no oats. The dough is a little wetter than the crisp/crumble topping. So cobbler = biscuits in my mind (sort of).
This is where things get a little less definitive. From my understanding the only (and very subtle) difference between a crumble and a crisp is that a crumble does not use oats or nuts in its topping. The topping is more like a streusel.
Well this one now seems obvious, but a crisp has oat and nuts in the topping. This is what we are making today because I love the added texture from the pecans and the oats.
Tips for Making Apple Crisp
- Do not cut the apple ahead of time. Apples turn brown very quickly. I do not recommend prepping the apples before you are ready to make the crisp.
- Cut the apples all the same size. This is crucial for even cooking. This process is also very tedious. I recommend using a peeler/corer like this one, and my all time favorite chopper. These really speed up the apple prepping process and also will make uniform pieces.
- Soften the cream cheese. Take the cream cheese out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you need to use it. This will help the cheesecake layer to be as smooth and creamy as possible.
- Use cold butter for the topping. Do not cube the butter until everything else is ready to go (apple filling & cheesecake layer are done and dry ingredients for the topping are mixed). If the butter is too warm before baking, it will melt too quickly once in the oven.
- Let the crisp set before serving. It might be tempting to dive right into the crisp when it comes out of the oven, but resist the urge. It is way too hot and it has not thickened up. As things cool, they typically thicken and firm up.
Let's Get Cooking
- Make the apple filling. First we will start by browning the butter. This adds some lovely nuttiness. We will then add in the sugar, vanilla, and spices. This is what will flavor the apples. Next we need to coat the apples well in this mixture.
- Make the cheesecake layer. You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer and a medium sized bowl. Beat the cream cheese and sugar for a few minutes. We want it to be smooth and creamy. Next we will add in the egg and the vanilla.
- Make the topping. First we want to mix together the dry ingredients. Then we will cube the cold butter. You can either use a fork or pastry cutter and work the butter into the dry ingredients. This mixture will be sandy and lumpy and not completely combined. That is okay!
- Assemble. Add the apples and the topping to a 9 x 13 inch dish. Next we will dollop the cheesecake in spoonfuls across the top of the topping. Then we want to get a knife and swirl it through the cheesecake and the topping. There is no method to doing so. We just want to barely incorporate the cheesecake with the topping.
- Bake and cool. Bake until golden and bubbly. Do not skip out the cooling step! Let the crisp set for about 10 minutes before serving.
How To Serve Apple Crisp
Ice cream is a must!
Once the crisp comes out of the oven, take your ice cream out of the freezer so it will be easy to scoop. Let the crisp (and the ice cream) sit out for about 10 minutes before serving. Once 10 minutes has passed, use a large spoon to scoop out a big piece of crisp. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and eat immediately. The hot crisp and the cold ice cream is a magical combination.