Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart Recipe
What goes better together than Granny Smith apples and caramel? Well…Granny Smith apples, caramel, AND cream cheese. This is a take off my Apple Pear Cream Cheese Tart, but with the added goodness of caramel baking chips, sans the pears. Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart is a delicious combination of childhood flavors wrapped up in a sugar-cookie-like crust that you’ll just love.
A dear friend of mine, Pastor Jim, said he loved caramel apples as a kid. That gave me the idea of pairing the Granny Smith apples with caramel baking chips. He said it was his favorite, so I was determined to find a way to bring the two together in a delicious dessert. Thus, Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart was born. The tartness of the apples and the sweetness of the caramel is a childhood favorite for many of us. Let’s face it, though, traditional caramel apples are messy to eat.
Melt the caramels, or toss them in?
So, I made this tart twice; once with the caramel baking chips mixed in with the chopped apples (half were spread under the cream cheese, half in with the apples), which turned out really good. I was a little surprised the caramel chips didn’t melt down at all, but rather, held their shape, even after baking. The second time I tried melting the caramel chips down and pouring it directly over the crust, then the cream cheese mixture, then the apples. This was good, too, but I think I liked the caramel chips mixed in with the apples better. The picture above has the melted caramel, you can see the darker layer just above the crust. The picture below shows them with the caramel chips mixed with the apples. They both taste the same, just look a little different.
Make your Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart
Using a 9-inch spring form pan, spread the crust on the bottom and up the sides about an inch. Make your decision on how you want to make the caramels, then either 1) melt them and spread over crust, or 2) without melting, spread half of the chips over the crust. Next, gently pour in the cream cheese mixture. For the top layer, toss the apples with cinnamon and nutmeg for that delicious apple pie flavor. Add the other half of the caramel baking chips unless you melted them. Gently spoon the apple mixture on top of the cream cheese mixture.
Baking the tart
Bake the Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart for 10 minutes in a preheated oven set at 425°. Reduce the oven to 375° and continue baking for another 25 minutes or until the center is set. Let the tart cool on a wire rack and then loosen the sides of the spring form pan. Let cool for another 20-30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. All those yummy flavors will be settling into each other and your cream cheese will be fully set and ready to serve.
Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Tart
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 10 oz. bag Ghirardelli caramel baking chips
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
For caramel layer:
- Microwave caramel baking chips at 30 second intervals, stirring between until melted. Let cool until room temperature.
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 425°. Beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, mix thoroughly. Spread onto bottom and up 1 inch on the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan.
- Spread cooled caramel on bottom of crust.
For cream cheese mixture:
- Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with electric mixer until well blended. Add egg and extracts until thoroughly mixed. Spread evenly over caramel layer.
For the apples:
- In small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place apples in a bowl or in a bag, add sugar mixture to evenly coat apples. Arrange the apples over the cream cheese layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375° and bake another 25 minutes or until center is set.
- Cool on wire rack. Loosed the sides of pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Enjoy!
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