Autumn Cheesecake is a rich and indulgent apple cheesecake that captures the warm and cozy flavors of the fall season. It starts with a graham cracker and pecan crust that is filled with creamy cheesecake and topped with spiced apples and more pecans. It is a delightful dessert choice for autumn gatherings or any time you want to savor the flavors of the season! You will also love my Caramel Apple Cheesecake, too!
Apple Cheesecake Ingredients & Substitutions
Crust: Ensure all graham cracker crumbs and pecans are coated in melted butter. This is what binds the crust together.
Graham Cracker Crumbs
Pre-Crushed vs Crushing Yourself
The quality of store-bought graham cracker crumbs has changed in the last few years and they seem to be less flavorful and have a different texture. When possible, I recommend the full sheets of honey-flavored graham crackers and crushing them yourself or utilizing a food processor.
Pecans: Pecans are added to the crust and sprinkled over the apples. If preferred, you could leave out the nuts.
Filling: To help prevent lumps in the cheesecake, be sure the ingredients, specifically the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs, are at room temperature.
Apples: Granny Smith apples are chosen for this cheesecake not only for their tart and crisp qualities but also because they complement the flavors and textures of the other ingredients. You could also experiment with other kinds of apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, Golden Delicious, or Braeburn, just to name a few.
Is A Water Bath Important?
Yes. Using a water bath when baking cheesecakes helps prevent the edges from overcooking. It also results in the cheesecake being more even colored without cracks. It’s all about science. The water cannot get hotter than 212°F since this is when it turns to steam. This means the heat is distributed more evenly and the water is like a buffer protecting the edges from overcooking. The steam also helps with the smooth top of the cheesecake, adding moisture while the cheesecake is baking.
When Is Cheesecake Done Baking?
Cheesecake is done baking when the sides are set, but the middle is still a bit jiggly. You can check the internal temperature of the cheesecake to check for doneness (150°F). Another option to check for doneness would be to take a wooden spoon and tap the outside of the pan. If there is a slight jiggle, it’s done!
How To Store Apple Cheesecake
To store autumn (apple) cheesecake, cover it and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two. If you tightly wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container, it will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- 1 ½ cups (126 g) graham cracker crumbs, about 10-12 sheets of graham crackers, crushed
- ½ cup (54.5 g) pecans, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (115 g) sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced to ⅛-inch thick (about 2 cups sliced apples)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup (27 g) pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Make sure all graham crackers are coated in butter. It should be the consistency of coarse sand.
- Press the crust into the bottom and ⅔ of the way up the lined pan. Wrap 2 pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add cream cheese. Beat until creamy and smooth. (You could also use a handheld mixer.)
- Mix in the sugar and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, add in eggs one by one until fully incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the crust.
- In a large bowl combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Gently toss to coat, ensuring all apples are coated in the spices.
- Arrange the apples over the cheesecake in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping each apple. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the cheesecake.
- Carefully place the cheesecake into a slightly larger pan and transfer both into the oven. Pour water into the larger pan, about halfway up the side of the foil-wrapped springform pan.
- Bake until the top of the cheesecake turns golden, about 90-95 minutes. The edges of the cheesecake should be set, while the center should still have a slight jiggle. Remove from oven. Let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack until it comes to room temperature (about 1 hour).
- Transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Cut and serve!
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
This cheesecake is the perfect way to usher in fall! Creamy and delicious with loads of apples and pecans!
I love the pecans and apples on this cheesecake. It is not heavy, just a light decorative topping to a very creamy cheesecake. Perfect for fall! Plus the apples arranged on top are a beautiful presentation!
This is a lovely mix of flavors. The apples add a little texture and a lot of flavor, the pecans complement the dessert, and the cheesecake is the creamiest you'll ever try!
I really liked the addition of pecans to the crust, and the topping with the baked apples, spices, and pecans was just delightful! Perfect for fall!