Apple cheesecake is a rich, creamy dessert made from soft cheese. Most apple cheesecake is made by pouring a mixture of cheese, eggs, and vanilla extract over a crust of pastry or sponge cake, which is then topped with sliced or grated apples, and sometimes baked in a springform pan. There are many variations of this confection around the world, but cream cheese features in most of them. Apple cheesecake may take a few hours to prepare, cook and cool, but nevertheless, it has endured for centuries, dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks.
The usual method to make apple cheesecake is to first create the crust. Butter, sugar and flour are mixed together and then molded into the springform pan. A mixture of cream cheese, eggs and vanilla extract is then poured over the entire crust. Apples are peeled and diced into thin slices and arranged over the top of the cheesecake. Cinnamon and sugar can be sprinkled over the top at this point, right before baking the dish in an oven.
An essential part of the process is allowing the apple cheesecake to cool after baking. This usually involves cooling the cheesecake to room temperature and can take up to as much as three to four hours. Due to the consistency of the cake, it can actually continue to bake after it has been removed from the oven. It is then removed from the pan and refrigerated prior to serving.
There is actually some debate as to whether the cheesecake is actually a cake at all. The Greeks certainly considered it to be a cake, but some claim that by including eggs into the mix, it should be classified as a torte. Others deem it to be a custard pie. There are literally hundreds of recipes from across the world for these delicious, yet calorie-laden desserts, some of them including ricotta and cottage cheese, and even quark cheese, which is produced from heated sour milk. Sometimes the crust can be made from crushed cookies, such as graham crackers.
Cheesecake is not always baked in an oven, but rather made with gelatin as a means to help it maintain its consistency. Unbaked cheesecake tends to be a little less dense than the baked variety. It is then placed in a refrigerator to chill and set. Apple cheesecake is probably best baked because the oven heat allows the apple topping to seep and set into the pie, making it even more flavorful.