Mary Berg's recipe for spiced apple cheesecake

An autumn-spiced spin on cheesecake from the cookbook 'In Mary's Kitchen'

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Recipe and photos courtesy of Appetite by Random House.

A cheesecake brimming with autumn spices is just what the dessert doctor ordered this month. Couple that with a caramel-apple-esque topping and, well, you've got a dessert you may want to keep all for yourself.

Much like the rest of the recipes in her recently-released cookbook In Mary's Kitchen, Mary Berg's spiced apple cheesecake is easy to whip up and guarantees to impress...even if your cheesecake comes out cracked. (More on that below.)

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"I’m not gonna lie, classic baked cheesecakes can be finicky, and making a perfect one without any cracks is not the easiest thing in the world. Sure, there are things you can do like adding a bit of cornstarch to the batter, not overbeating the eggs, and using a water bath to protect the delicate custard from the direct heat of the oven, but sometimes, even after following every precaution, your cheesecake splits. But have no fear! All is well! That’s what the spiced apple topping is for. Just pile it on, and no one will be any the wiser," says Mary Berg in the introduction to this recipe in her new cookbook.

If you enjoy Mary's recipe for spiced apple cheesecake, then you'll love her apple cinnamon biscuit buns too.

Autumn-spiced cheesecake

7 oz crispy spice cookies, such as Biscoff or gingersnaps

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons melted butter

1¼ cups sugar, divided

3 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups brick-style cream cheese, room temperature

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

⅔ cup

35% whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 350°F, grease a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, and wrap the outside of the pan with alumi- num foil. Set inside a larger baking pan and put a kettle on to boil.

For the cheesecake, in a food processor, blitz the cookies into fine crumbs. Add the flour, salt, and melted butter and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together ½ cup of sugar with the cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 cup of cream cheese and beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the remaining cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Scrape down the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed followed by the vanilla. Add the cream and continue to beat just until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Pour the filling onto the cooled crust. Pour the hot boiled water into the larger pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan to create a water bath.

Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the edge of the cheesecake is set but the center still has a wobble.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Spiced apple topping

4 green apples, peeled and cored

½ lemon

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon apple brandy,

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1–2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping, slice the apples into thin wedges and squeeze the lemon juice over them, tossing to coat. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat then add the apples. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, 2 to 4 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the brandy, if using, and allow it to simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and continue to cook until sticky and the apples are quite soft but still holding their shape, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

The topping can be served warm on top of slices of chilled cheese- cake or cooled to room temperature and spooned over the whole cheesecake and chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

(Note from Mary Berg: Whenever cutting a dense dessert like a cream pie, fudgy brownies, or cheesecake, warm your knife under hot water and dry it before slicing, and wipe the knife between each cut. this ensures clean and even edges on each slice.)

Makes one 9-inch cheescake