Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 30 mins
Bake: 20 mins
- 5 small to medium gala apples (2 lbs. total)
- 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 graham cracker squares, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 11 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 3 lengthwise slices. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 3 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, 6 tbsp. sugar and the lemon juice. Cook, turning occasionally, until the apples begin to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add 1 tbsp. butter and cook until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Line 6 cups of a jumbo muffin pan with jumbo liners and preheat the oven to 325 degrees . In a small pan, melt 2 tbsp. butter, then place in a medium bowl. Mix in the graham crackers and salt. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Press into the bottoms with a narrow drinking glass. Transfer to the freezer to set.
- In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Using a mixer, beat at high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl twice, until blended. Mix in the vanilla.
- Arrange 5 apple slices in a single layer on the crust in each muffin cup. Reserve the remaining apples with their juices at room temperature in a covered bowl. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the cups; bake until set but slightly jiggly, about 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- In a small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the walnuts and 2 tbsp. sugar and cook, stirring, until toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool on paper towels, then break up the candied nuts.
- Arrange the reserved apples with their juices on top of the cakes. Stir the remaining 1 tbsp. sugar into the sour cream. Top the cakes with the sour cream and candied nuts.
- For a perfectly smooth texture thats not too soft, leave the cakes in the oven (turned off !) with the door ajar for 30 minutes after baking.