Baked Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dumplings
Thanks to Werther's Original® for sponsoring this recipe post! I may have achieved some sort of maximum gym awkwardness today. I was super proud of myself for tugging on my workout gear and going to an extra Zumba class today, but in retrospect, I can now declare with utmost certainty that I should've stayed home. BECAUSE: 1. I'd never been to this Zumba class before and it was in a huge classroom. The teacher was on the other side of it, meaning I couldn't see her at all. I think plenty of other students were in the same boat and doing their own random dances, so I couldn't really follow them either. As a result, I spent most of the class wobbling uncertainly from side to side like an antsy walrus. Probably with a really confused look on my face.
2. There was this one song with approximately 80 bajillion partner segments. You were supposed to find a partner and booty dance with them, but since I am socially awkward and weirdly shy sometimes, I partner danced alone. All 80 bajillion times. And forced the girl beside me to partner dance alone, too, since I was the only possible partner in her vicinity and I was clearly too awkward to bother with.
3. After my bizarre Zumba class, I went back to the locker room and tried to open my lock approximately 80 bajillion times. My combination is 13-21-11. That combination did not work. My only guess is that my lock forgot its own combination, because I DID NOT FORGET MY COMBINATION. IT IS 13-21-11. You may wonder why I feel comfortable announcing my lock combination on my food blog. WELL, BECAUSE:
4. After 80 bajillion attempts to open my lock failed, I had to ask the gym dude to please cut the lock off my locker. This sounds approximately 80 bajillion times simpler than it actually was. Gym dude had to ask another gym dude where the bolt cutters were, look for them for 30 minutes because that gym dude wouldn't come over to help, wait outside the locker room while a woman finished changing, send me in to evacuate the locker room, try for 15 minutes to cut the lock off, get now-changed woman's help cutting the lock off, get lazy gym dude's help cutting the lock off, etc. Finally, a group of roughly 15 of us (okay, 4) got my lock cut off my locker and I was able to tell the ladies in the sauna that it was safe to come out into the locker room again. THAT'S WHY I CAN TELL YOU MY LOCK COMBINATION. Because my lock has been cut in half.
Needless to say, I crawled out of the gym after apologizing to everyone about 80 bajillion times and am seriously considering never going to that Zumba class again. Also, I'm going to eat a Baked Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dumpling now to soothe my nerves. In summary, I will gain roughly 2 pounds because of this trip to the gym. Exercise fail. These Baked Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dumplings are the perfect comfort food for these kind of nights. They're a riff on the classic Baked Apple Dumplings -- apples baked in pie crust -- except they include a unique cinnamon cheesecake center! Serve them with ice cream, a drizzle of Werther's Original® Baking Caramels (did you know they make baking caramels now? So easy and quick -- and made with real butter and cream), and toasted pecans. One year ago: “Magic” Chocolate, Coconut, and Pecan Pastry Braid Two years ago: Naked Vegan Tacos with Corn Relish and Cilantro-Lime Slaw Three years ago: Pizzas Benedict and Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes Four years ago: Two Terrific Tarts: Chocolate and Raspberry Cream Cheese
Baked Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dumplings
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Taste of Home Yield: 4 servings
Baked Apple Dumplings with a cinnamon cheesecake center. These are a heavenly fall dessert!
Pastry Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled 1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes 3 tablespoons ice water
Apple Ingredients: 4 medium apples, peeled 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cheesecake Ingredients: 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 3 tablespoons teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1 egg
Sauce Ingredients: 3/4 cups light brown sugar 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup butter, cubed pinch salt Werther's Original® Baking Caramels, melted toasted pecans*
Directions: *Note: To toast pecans, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 6 minutes or until fragrant, tossing several times.
Make the pastry: Pulse the flour and salt together in the bowl of a food processor to combine. Add the lard in hunks and pulse for about 10 seconds until it’s the texture of coarse sand. Add in the chunks of cold butter and pulse for about 10 pulses until butter pieces are no larger than small peas. Add 3 tablespoons of ice cold water and turn food processor on low — the dough should form a dough ball in a few seconds. If the dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Add as little water total as is required for the dough to form a ball. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions on sheets of plastic wrap, form each into a disk, and chill for at least 20-30 minutes while completing the rest of the recipe.
Make the cheesecake: In a medium bowl, mix the cheesecake filling ingredients together. Scrape the filling into a ziplock bag and chill while you complete the rest of the recipe.
Prepare the apples: Core each of your peeled apples, taking out a core of about 1 to 1 1/2-inch diameter so you have space for your cheesecake filling. Mix together the 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon to form a cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll each apple in the mixture. Reserve any leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Roll out each portion of the pie pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rough 7-inch square. Place an apple on the center of each. Cut off the corner of the ziplock bag of cheesecake filling and pipe filling into the center of each apple. Then pull up the corners of the pie pastry and tuck each corner into the center of the apple, pinching the dough together to seal. Place the apples into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Make the sauce: Heat the brown sugar, water, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Pour the sauce over the apples and bake them, basting occasionally, for 50 to 55 minutes or until tender and golden brown. If the cheesecake seems to be getting too dark on top, cover it with a snippet of foil. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream, a drizzle of melted Werther's caramel, and toasted pecans.