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The “Apple Thing” aka Apple Cream Pie

This lovely wedge of deliciousness is a piece of the second pie of last week’s two-pie weekend. Jon wanted me to bake a “regular” apple pie, but since I was already making a blueberry pie, I wanted to make something different and maybe a little special, so I was thinking more along the lines of a vegan cheesecake. Still, those apples were calling me…

Ultimately I compromised and made what is now very lovingly referred to around our house as the “apple thing.” It’s not exactly a pie, it’s not really a cheesecake, it has a streusel-ish topping like a crisp. So what is it? I finally settled on calling it Apple Cream Pie, but when a dessert is this flagrantly delicious, it’s really just known as “More, please.”

Here’s how I made it in case you want to do a reenactment: Press graham cracker crumbs (moistened with a little melted Earth Balance) into a springform pan or pie plate (I used a springform pan). Combine 8 ounces of vegan cream cheese with about 1/3 cup light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until smooth, then spread the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom of the crust. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel, core and thinly slice about 5 apples (your choice — I used a combo of Gala and Pink Lady). Saute the apple slices in a large skillet with 2 teaspoons of Earth Balance, a splash of lemon juice, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, to taste. When the apples are reasonably tender (not too soft), scoop them out of the skillet (leaving their liquid behind) and spread them on top of the cream cheese mixture. Reserve the liquid that remained from the apples. In a bowl, combine about 1 cup of granola and 1/2 cup of walnut pieces. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the reserved apple liquid to moisten, tossing to coat. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool before serving to serve at room temperature or refrigerate for at least 2 hours to serve chilled. That’s it!

If you make it, let me know what you think. I came up with this on the fly and didn’t measure anything, so measurements are approximate. The type of apple you have and how much sugar you use will dictate how sweet this is. If you serve it warm, it has that cozy warm apple pie flavor, but the cream cheese mixture is soft. If you chill it, the pie slices easier and the cream cheese mixture is firm. It’s great either way!