Rosemary and Apple Cheesecake

Cheesecake tends to make an appearance around the holidays every year - possibly because it's so decadent we can't justify it any other time. The problem is, though, that it's decadence for the sake of decadence and doesn't taste like a whole lot other than cheese. This version plays with classic flavours of rosemary and apple to make every bite a hit of holiday cheer.

Crust:

1 cup graham crackers

1 cup granola

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling:

2 eggs

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

Compote:

1 large apple, pealed and diced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 teaspoon vanilla

zest of one lemon

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine graham crackers and granola in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and continue pulsing until mixture is wet and begins to clump together.

Press crust firmly into bottom and slightly up sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes until set and toasted smelling. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make compote by combining all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat and cooking until thick and fragrant, and apples are cooked through. If all of the water evaporates before the apples are completely cooked through, add half a cup more. Cool the compote and put it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Make the filling by beating the cream cheese by hand or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined and mixture looks smooth and glossy. Sprinkle the four over top and gently combine.

Waterproof the springform pan containing the crust by wrapping it in 3 pieces of tinfoil, alternating directions and crimping against top to secure.

Pour cream cheese mixture into the crust and place the entire pan in a large roasting pan or casserole dish. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come half way up the cheesecake and carefully place back in the oven for 45 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the middle is just set and the top has gained a small amount of colour.

Cool the cheesecake to room temperature on the counter and then put it in the fridge overnight. Bring it back to room temperature before serving. Run a hot knife around the outside before attempting to remove the springform pan and then top with apple compote.

If you happen to have any extra compote left over, it's delicious on Greek yogurt the next morning!