Savor all three flavors in this delicious Caramel, Apple, Cream Cheese Pie!
I love this pie! And, what better time than in the Fall to get your caramel apple fix in the form of a pie. After a day of leaf peeping and picking those delicious apples in the local orchards, a caramel apple is usually the way to end a delightful day with family and friends. This delicious Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Pie is a sweet way to share this delicious combination with whipped cream on top of a special crumbly top.
This recipe is very to follow. I like to get all the layers ready ahead of time. Refrigerate them and then construct the pie when you’re ready to enjoy it. What's great about this pie is that you don’t even need to know how to make a homemade pie crust. Just pick up one at your local grocery store or create an easy make graham cracker crust for a 9” pie plate. Either crust is delicious with this pie. The cream cheese cuts the sweetness of the sugars in the fillings. And, the combination of apples and caramel reminds me of fresh caramel apples in the Fall.
What apples are good in this pie? I personally like local Cortland apples known for their firmness and their sweet, tart flavor. Every time I have used them for pie, they make it delicious. Of course, you can use whatever variety you like. If you’re not sure what apples to use, talk with your local apple grower (ask to taste an apple variety) or check with someone you value as a great pie maker – there are a lot of bakers out there who would love to share their experiences. Or, check online to find out the characteristics for apples in your region. Some people like a firm apple while others like softer apples. Some people like very tart apples and others like very sweet. Remember, if you like a sweet pie, you may need to add more sugar with tart apples. You will have a chance while baking the apple filling to adjust it to your taste.
Want to add a real KICK to your apple pie? Try some cinnamon oil as the apple filling is cooking. But, be careful to only add a drop at a time, and taste the filling after each drop or you may regret the KICK you get.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees
Pan prep – none needed for the 9” pie plate
Blind bake one crust, either homemade or store bought, according to package directions, in a 9” pie plate, glass or metal. If I'm making a pie for a gift and don't want to leave it in my own pie pan, I bake the crust in a disposable metal pan. When I take it to give, I place another disposable pie plate underneath to give it more support and so it doesn't flop around.
Crisp Oatmeal Topping:
¾ C Flour
2 T Sugar
¼ C Brown sugar
½ C Oats, quick-cooking rolled (not instant)
½ t Cinnamon, ground
½ t Apple pie spice
¼ t Salt
5 T Butter, room temperature, cut in small cubes
½ C Pecans, rough chopped
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugars, oats and spices.
- With your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix together with the cubed butter until the mixture is crumbly.
- Spread the entire mixture on a large parchment paper lined cookie sheet. No need to butter or grease the pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Add pecans and stir.
- Bake another 10 minutes until nicely browned. Watch it carefully so the pecans don’t overbake and get too brown. Baking the pecans will enhance their flavor, but overbaking can give them a burnt flavor.
- Let cool completely on a rack.
8 C Apples, peeled, cored and rough chopped.
1 C Sugar
1 t Cinnamon, ground
1 t Apple pie spice
1-2-3 Drops Cinnamon oil (OPTIONAL)
¼ C Cornstarch
¼ C Water, cold
Cook the apple filling on the stovetop:
- Pile the rough chopped apples into a large saucepan on a medium burner with the sugar and spices. This is the time to adjust the spices if you like your pie a little spicier. I like to use apple pie spice because it is a mixture of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and I don’t need to keep separate containers of the individual spices in my cupboard. You may like to have more nutmeg or allspice, so add a ¼ t or now and taste it as the mixture is cooking. Then adjust it to your personal taste.
- I have mentioned the cinnamon oil as an option. If you want to add a little kick to your pie, this can do it. But, carefully add one drop at a time and taste after each drop is stirred in. Like it said, it can add a real KICK!
- Cook the apples on medium (a soft boil) until the chunks are just getting tender on the outside. As it cooks, the apples will reduce in size and create a nice juice. Remember, you will not be baking the entire pie, so this is the time to test the tenderness to match your taste. I like just a little firmness, so I don’t cook the apple chunks all the way through. It really comes down to your personal desire.
- While your apples are cooking, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl with a whisk or fork until it’s completely combined.
- When the apples are cooked to your desired doneness, whisk the cornstarch and water combination again to make sure it has not separated, and stir it into the apple mixture. When the apple filling comes back up to boil, stir it until the cornstarch mixture comes clear and thickens. If you like your filling thicker, cook it a little more.
- Taste your filling again to make sure it’s the Fall spiciness you like and make adjustments if you need to.
- Set the apple filling aside to cool completely. I usually let it cool about 15 minutes and then set it inside the fridge.
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz Cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ C Powdered sugar
4 oz Frozen Whipped topping, thawed
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium until all the lumps are gone.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat until it’s smooth.
- Gently fold in the whipped topping until well mixed.
3 T Caramel to swirl in the cream cheese layer
More Caramel topping for the tip top of the pie
Construct your delicious pie:
- Make sure all of your layers, plus the pie crust, have completely cooled before constructing the pie.
- Spread the cream cheese layer on the cooled pie crust. If the crust has not cooled completely this layer could “melt.”
- Use your favorite caramel ice cream topping for this step. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the caramel topping on the cream cheese and swirl it in with the tip of a butter knife.
- Spread the cooled apple filling on top of the cream cheese layer.
- Cover the apple pie filling all the way to the edges with the cooled crumbly oatmeal topping.
- Drizzle the caramel topping on the crumbly topping, crisscrossing it or randomly drizzling it for a pretty effect.
- You can dig right in, but I refrigerate it overnight or at least for a couple of hours to make sure the cream cheese and apple layers are somewhat firm.
This Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Pie is definitely a showstopper. People I have made it for rave about it and want more. It’s a sweet pie, so you can get 8 pieces out of one pie. I have even made it as bars in a 8-9” square cake pan. For bars I made a simple graham cracker crust for it instead of a flaky pie crust.
I store this pie in the fridge for up to 4 days if it doesn’t get eaten up before that. It stays nice and firm. I did freeze one small slice just to see how it would last. The flavor was still very good after a couple of weeks. But the structure of the layers came out a little soft after it had thawed, so I probably would not freeze an entire pie. So, enjoy it fresh with friends or family!