8oz packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
pure vanilla extract
crisp apples, peeled and sliced thinly
granulated sugar or vanilla sugar
chopped pecans if desired for topping
your favorite caramel sauce
Murray River Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). On the bottom rack, place a sided pan(such as a jelly roll pan) filled with water.Slice apples, and toss with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at full power for 60 seconds. Turn apples out into a fine colander or strainer over the sink and allow excess moisture to drain. If you are hoping for a smooth, finished apple design, use an apple corer/peeler/slicer and do not treat the draining apples roughly!Blend crumbs and pecans with sugar and Himalayan Pink Salt. Stir in melted butter. Press onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Mix on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and mixing well between each addition. Blend in vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the baked crust. (You can wrap water soaked teflon cake strips around the pan at this point if using them, but you may omit this step)Arrange the cinnamon sugared and drained apples on the top of the cheesecake filling. You may arrange them in concentric rings if thinly sliced, or alternately spoon a messier apple mixture over the top. If using chopped pecan topping, add it now. Bake on the middle rack (the rack above the water pan) in the reheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just the very center jiggles when the pan is nudged. (If you wait until the entire cheesecake is set, it will be over-cooked)With a knife, loosen the cake from the rim of the pan. Let cool for 20 minutes, and then remove the rim of the pan. Drizzle with your favorite caramel sauce. Chill the cheesecake for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Prior to serving, liberally sprinkle at least 1 Tablespoon of Murray River Australian Flake Salt over the caramel topping. This is the perfect finishing salt, which lends gorgeous texture and the perfect balance of salt to sweet.