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Apple Cider Risotto Cheesecake

(Makes one 9-inch cheesecake)
Apple Cider Risotto Cheesecake
Apple Cider Risotto Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake Filling:
4 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
16 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons butter


To make the crust:
In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
Press into an even layer on the bottom and about 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

To make the risotto:
In a saucepan, bring the apple cider to a simmer, then reduce the heat just to keep the cider warm.

In another saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to look translucent.  Add one cup of the warm apple cider, stirring often until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding the cider, one cup at a time, until all the liquid is absorbed.  When adding the final cup of cider, also add the teaspoon of cinnamon.  The entire process will take about 25 minutes, so be patient.  Remove the rice from the heat and allow it to cool.  The rice must be completely cool before adding it to the remaining filling ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and reduce to a simmer (this will be used in the oven when the cheesecake is baking).

To make the cheesecake filling:
In  the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the sour cream and vanilla; beat until well blended.
Gently stir in the cooled risotto until evenly incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the graham cracker crust.

Place a roasting pan or oven-safe baking dish on the lowest rack in your oven.  Pour the 4 cups of  hot water into the pan.  Place the cheesecake pan on the middle rack above the water.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.
The top of the cheesecake should be just starting to brown and the center will still be a little jiggly.  Remove the cheesecake for the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Run a sharp knife around the inside perimeter of the springform pan to loosen the cake and then remove the side of the pan. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.  Add the apple topping when the cake is cooled.  You can also top the cake with a fruit or caramel sauce or a simple dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

To make the topping:
Place the apple slices into a bowl with the brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Use your hands to gently toss the apples until they are well coated with the other ingredients.

In a large skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Add the apple slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the apples are just slightly tender.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Arrange the slices in concentric circles on top of the cheesecake starting from the outer edge to the center.
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A delicious and unique cheesecake that combines apple cider-flavored risotto with a luscious cream cheese filling and is topped with fresh brown sugar and cinnamon apple slices.  It has a texture similar to Italian Easter Wheat Berry Cake (La Pastiera Napoletana.) This recipe was adapted from the original found at Lundberg Family Farms website:
Do you love cheesecake but sometimes find that one large cake is too big for you?  These mini springform pans are perfect for individual cakes, cheesecakes, and quiches. The three little springform pans in this set are are perfect for creating mini cheesecakes, quiches, deep dish pizzas and more.
Oven safe to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this bakeware features long-lasting, nonstick inside and out to provide excellent food release with quick cleanup and silicone grips on the handles for a solid, comfortable grasp.
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