Apple Pie Cheesecake: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

Food is a passion. I’m not sure that it necessarily comes out all the time as I tell you about the mess my kids and I made, how I have taken to making my own fruit snacks or that I’m making ice cream in the fall, but I hope it does. I hope that you can see my relationship with food is one that I’ve fought for and continue to fight for daily. It’s important to me, and it’s important for me to share it, this time with an apple pie cheesecake topped with a salted caramel sauce.

While I still may be coming into my own on my personal journey, finding my words and treading lightly, I watch in awe as others do it so well, weaving through food choices and relationships, crafting stories of life and the food that fuels it. Shauna Ahern does that and has since she launched her blog, Gluten-Free Girl, sharing her journey through celiac disease and her rediscovery of food after diagnosis. And though food relationships aren’t always roses and sugary sweet, it’s the humanity and life that I love about Shauna and her story that she shares with her husband Danny and daughter Lu.

My dad recently started exploring a gluten-free diet, and I first ordered Shauna and Danny’s new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, for my mom, thinking she could benefit from their wisdom as she learned how to cook for my dad. Then I kept it because I loved the recipes so much. Perhaps I’ll get him one for Christmas. For you, head over to Gluten-Free Girl for their giveaway, which includes three copies of the cookbook, a KitchenAid stand mixer and more!

For the apple pie cheesecake, I started with a gingerbread cookie crust. It just felt right, and Shauna has a great recipe. Just leave the cookies out on the counter uncovered so they get a bit harder and drier than usual before you turn them to crumb. If you want, you could also purchase gluten-free (or regular if you’re not avoiding gluten) gingersnaps or graham crackers. Both will work, but I like gingersnaps to pair with the apples and cinnamon.

Pulse the cookies in the food processor until no chunks remain.

Add a bit of butter to bind them together, and then we’re ready to press in the pan.

I use the bottom of a cup to get my crust up the sides of my springform pan.

And we move on to apples. I have been hoarding apples from the farmers market like they’re going out of season…oh, that’s because they are. These happen to be Connell Reds, Ole’s apple of choice, which worked out well since he’s the one who had the pleasure of peeling and slicing them.

And all the apple pie favorites make an appearance here, but with sweet rice flour subbing in for my regular all-purpose. You could also use a gluten-free all-purpose mix if you have one available.

Layer the apples in the bottom of the crust, taking care not to leave any giant gaps or holes.

For the cheesecake layer, cream together cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch until smooth.

Milk, eggs (one at a time), sour cream and vanilla also get mixed in.

And the silky cream cheese gets poured right over the top of the apples.

And we’re ready to bake. The only thing that needs to happen is a wrap around the bottom to catch any butter drips that may happen as the crust cooks, but I don’t bother with water baths for this recipe. The sour cream and milk have been successful in preventing any cracks…even if you, say, mean to leave it in an extra 5 minutes and that turns into 25. Still, crack free.

The result is a creamy cheesecake, complete with cinnamon apple pie layer that everyone can enjoy this holiday season. Unless you’re on a diet, I suppose. Then you’ll just have to live with the guilt.

It’s worth it.

8 ounces gluten-free gingersnap cookies
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Apple Pie Layer:
4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sweet rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour or cornstarch
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Wrap bottom of springform pan in foil to prevent butter leaks as the cheesecake bakes. Add the cookies to a food processor. Pulse until all chunks are removed and only crumbs remain. Add in melted butter and pulse to combine. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 10″ springform pan.

Mix together sliced apples, lemon juice, sugar, sweet rice flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to coat. Spread apples in an even layer over the bottom of the crust.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar and sweet rice flour. Mix in the milk, and then add in one egg at a time, mixing after each until incorporated. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Pour cream cheese mixture over the top of the apples.

Bake at 350° F for 60-70 minutes until center is almost set. Turn the oven off and allow to sit in the oven with the door closed for at least 3 hours or until room temperature. Store in fridge until ready to serve. Serve topped with caramel sauce.

Makes 12-14 servings
Copyright © Food for My Family.

More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes

Andrea’s Recipes | gluten-free pumpkin scones
Not Without Salt | gluten-free chocolate biscotti
Zest Bakery | warm pumpkin polenta with goat cheese
The Mommy Bowl | gluten-free bread
Smith Bites | gluten-free celery root soup with cashew cream
White on Rice Couple | Turkey Sloppy Joes on Rosemary Rolls
What’s Gaby Cooking | gluten-free molasses cookies
Kitchen Gadget Girl | gluten-free pumpkin strata
Rookie Moms | chocolate peanut butter brownies
Tiffin Tales | gluten-free Thanksgiving torte
Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom | gluten, dairy and egg free crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls
Eat the Love | Gluten Free Maple Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Gingerbread Bottom
Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes | gluten-free sourdough rosemary rolls and gluten-free mincemeat cookies
The Art of Gluten-Free Baking | gluten-free pumpkin pie
Sophisticated Gourmet | cranberry-almond-coconut macaroons topped with chocolate
Cook 4 Seasons | gluten-free pumpkin mousse
Cook It Allergy Free | Cornbread and (Shauna’s) Crusty Bread Stuffing
Lexie’s Kitchen | dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, no-bake pumpkin pie filling
Recipe Girl | an entire Thanksgiving menu, gluten-free
Two Peas and Their Pod | gluten-free apple cranberry crisp
Gluten-Free for Good | gluten-free cherry cobbler
My Madeleine | butternut squash soup.
The Sensitive Pantry | gluten-free brown sugar hand pies
Art and Lemons | gluten-free rustic squash tarts
Bellalimento | Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll with Mascarpone and Nutella Filling
Mom Food Project | an entire Thanksgiving, gluten-free
Gluten-Free Easily | candy carrot coins
Dish Towel Diaries | kale Caesar slaw
A Baking Life | gluten-free gingerbread cake
Glugle Gluten-Free | gluten-free pumpkin muffins
Wenderly | sweet and savory prosciutto cups
Cannelle Et Vanille | sweet potato and crabapple clafoutis
Who Ate My Tomato | gluten-free squash tart
What’s Cooking with Kids | gluten-free apple crisp
Blue Bonnets and Brownies | apple and pear cobbler
CakeSpy | turkey meatloaf cupcakes
Wasabimon! | gluten-free butternut squash pie
Tartelette | Thin Crust Pear Tart

Looking for a different pie recipe? Check out TidyMom’s Pie Round-Up.

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  1. This looks so decadent! Apple and cheesecake. Seconds please!!!

  2. This looks so lucious! I love the full slices of apples in there.

  3. Who knew gluten free could look so good!

  4. Oh Shaina! YUM! I’m making this pronto! xoxo

  5. It does not get any more beautiful then that… well done!!

  6. The caramel sauce on top kills me. I LOVE caramel sauce on my apple pie (or apple pie cheesecake 😉 )…gorgeous pictures!

  7. Yeah, that caramel has got it going on.

  8. Guilt Schmilt! This pie looks amazing and to pour the caramel sauce over! What a *sweet* topping. So glad you linked this up at Tidymom’s Party.

  9. Holy COW!! This looks absolutely FANTASTIC!!! I can’t wait to try it. In fact, I think I may make it part of Thanksgiving.:)

  10. Question about the sour cream – its really hard to find (I live in Italy) do you think yogurt, maybe greek yogurt could be substituted for the sour cream? I mentioned apple pie cheesecake to my husband and now its on my must make list!

    Thanks! 🙂

  11. Wow, your pie looks amazing! Fantastic recipe and photos!

  12. Looks just decadent! Those photos are amazing! I feel as if I’ve tasted it already!

  13. Your apple pie looks great. I too hoard all of my beautiful apples until I find the perfect use for them! This is an awesome line-up of bloggers that created the GF line up 🙂 xo

  14. Ummmm…looks pretty darn tasty. And beautiful.

  15. Wow, that turned out absolutely perfect! Looks delicious!

  16. Oh dear. I thought I had made an excellent gluten free cheesecake for my blog post and then I come over here and see yours! Apples IN the cheesecake AND caramel sauce! GENIUS! I love it!

    I’m so going to have to make this. It never occurred to me to put fruit like that INSIDE a cheesecake. Crazy amazing. I need to run out and get some apples right now. Oh wait I think I still have some Arkansas Blacks in the crisper drawer from when I went apple picking…

    Hmmm. Dang it. We best finish up the cheesecake we have, because I want to make another one now….

  17. what a gorgeous recipe! love the photos and it looks so incredibly delicious!

  18. So yummy! I’m featuring you this week for my Sweet Thursday event!

  19. I’ll trade you a slice of the Thin Crust Pear Tart I made for the round up for a slice of this cheesecake!
    Oh my! Absolutely wonderful!

  20. That cheesecake looks divine! What an awesome combination.



  21. It looks delicious. Excellent pictures. I guess if you were allergic to dairy you could swap the milk and cheese with alternatives.

  22. Oh my goodness that looks simply amazing!! Then again I am completed enamored of all thing cheesecake related. Fantastic job making it gluten free 🙂

  23. Oh my…this is fabulous! What a great idea to combine the two into one pretty dessert. Apple pie and cheesecake is a favorite in our home. I’m making this real soon!

  24. Oh man, that looks so good. I’m melting with desire for a slice of that cheesecake!

    Thanks for sharing.

  25. OMG, this looks SO SO good! I’m in charge of pies for Thanksgiving, but I may have to substitute in this recipe for one of them…looks so good! I like that the apple pie filling is in the middle so it doesn’t get dried out like with some apple pie cheesecake recipes I have seen. Plus – it’s like a little surprise when you cut in! Definitely excited to try this. 🙂

  26. Is it really only three tbsp butter for the crust? I mixed in three and nothing stuck, so I ended up having to put in more.

    • Yep, just three. It shouldn’t make them stick. The crumbs should just be slightly damp from the melted butter. You secure it to the pan by pressing it down firmly. I actually made the crust more than once time finding the right ratio. As the cookies are already more oily than graham cracker crumbs, adding additional butter made them drip grease while the pie was cooking.

      • Oh hmmm. Maybe it was the type of cookies I used. I could only find ginger cookies that weren’t so snappy, and were really quite dry on their own. At any rate, I just didn’t put the crumbs up on the side, and left them all at the bottom. I made it this morning and everyone who ate it loved it. Loved it so much I didn’t get a piece! 🙂

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