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I want to make an (dutch) apple pie with a layer of cheesecake. As far as I know I have a few options:

  1. Bake a cheesecake, then simply add a layer of apples. more or less like: enter image description here

    However this is not what I want.

  2. Use a known recipe with a result like this: enter image description here

Option 2 is exactly what I'm looking for and exactly the type of pie. I want to have crust on the bottom, sides, and top.
In the picture you can see what is to be expected. The layers will combine.
But I want to have a layer like option 1.
Is this at all possible without the layers combining during baking?
Apples on top seems to moisten the cheesecake layer too much, if they don't already sink to the bottom eventually.
Cheesecake on top might have the same issue, but less I guess.
I'm also not sure how the stripes of dough would hold up above this cheesecake layer.

Any tips on how to proceed or is this mission impossible?

Edit: An example of a layer with some sort of merengue (with added starch), added before baking. To give a better picture of what I'm trying to achieve. enter image description here

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    I wouldn't think there would be anyway to prevent the layers from mixing without first setting (baking) the cheesecake layer. It's simply too liquid and will absorb anything placed on top of it during baking. Hence why option 1 is made the way it is. The only thing I can think of is to somehow create the apple layer into a less dense suspension (probably smaller chunks of apple would be needed).. think layering some alcoholic drinks and how the layers nicely split... – kettultim May 25 '17 at 8:52
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    If you really want to get technical about it (baking is a science after all, right?) then you can start with experimenting and creating a viscous suspension (to hold the apple pieces), and then testing the density of each layer at room temp and at baking temp. You should be able to solve it with maths but it may not come out exactly how you're envisioning it. – kettultim May 25 '17 at 8:56
  • Hello Ruud, I don't understand the question. What is the difference between the two pies? All I can see on the pictures is that in the first, the apples are separated, in the second, the apples are mixed in. And you seem to be asking for option 1 but with the apples separated. Are there more differences I cannot see, and you want to keep those but have the apples separate? What are these differences? I only see that the bottom pie has crust on the side and the top one doesn't, but this would be trivial to achieve in option 1 too, so it is presumably not why you see a problem. – rumtscho May 25 '17 at 10:37
  • @kettultim Well this indeed ends up in the science department. I was thinking maybe some layer of pre-baked cake can take another hour of baking since it wil get moist and might be able to keep the layers seperated. I will look into what type of cake/dough can handle that without ruining taste. – Ruud May 25 '17 at 12:36
  • @rumtscho A typical grandma's apple pie has crust on bottom,sides and pieces on top. Since the first example is baked first and then the apples come on top, you easily achieve layers. I wanted to try something similar but in one run. I wasn't allowed to add more url's as examples, but the recipe can be found at laurasbakery.nl/appeltaart-cheesecake to give you a better idea. – Ruud May 25 '17 at 12:36
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Hmm.... I'm not sure if this really deserves to be an answer, because I haven't done this specifically, but one thing that comes to mind is an Apple crumb cake I made from this recipe right here. Yes it says strawberry, but apples are if anything better.

The point is I think there is at least one thing you could try that might help without changing your exact recipe.

You could change the way you cut your apples, or at least part of them. If you slice the apples very thinly, you can layer them together to form a kind of platform, which can help to prevent uneven sinking/mixture. You could either stick to that method, which can lead to a very pretty, layered pinwheel presentation if there's no other topping, OR once you've got a decent layer of sliced apple to provide this platform, you could put the rest of the apples, in chunks, on top if you want that look to it. If you use the sliced apples, you will get a different texture though.

Beyond that, you'll have to modify your recipe. As a commenter stated, you need to consider things like density and surface tension. My suggestion above is a way of playing with surface tension--Less weight distributed across a broader surface means less sinking, but if your cheesecake batter is as liquid as my usual recipe is, it might not work regardless. If you switch to a simpler, denser recipe (possibly just by leaving out some or all of the cream), you should have no trouble regardless of how you cut/place your apples.

In the recipe I link, the cake batter and cream cheese layer are both very, very thick. This is what prevents a great deal of sinking/mixture and produces those pretty layers in the final product.

To sum up: Yes, I think this should be totally possible, but I can only offer suggestions, not actual experience with this precise cake here.

EDIT: Looking at the recipe, it already seems to be a fairly dense cheesecake-- no cream. The only liquid is one egg to hold things together, so you wouldn't need to change anything there, I don't think. The only reason there seems to be sinking and mixture is because of the way the apple is cut and the amount of it compared to the cheesecake. The apple layer is 1500+ grams, while the cheesecake layer is less than 1000. You'll still have to experiment, but I would think you could pretty easily cheat by using a thin layer of sliced apple.

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    Thanks, lot's of options to tinker with. Somewhere it seems worth a try and switch layers (apples on bottom), and see if the cream cheese can hold the top dough parts if it isn't too liquid. It's okay if parts of the cream cheese fill the air holes between the apple parts when pouring, as long as I can keep most of it as layer. – Ruud May 25 '17 at 13:14
  • I'll plan on making this on Tuesday (my mom's going out of town, so she needs a surprise right?), and let you know how the layering works for me. That said, I don't think you have to worry about the cheesecake batter being too liquid with this recipe. Good luck with your version! – kitukwfyer May 25 '17 at 13:26
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I admit, I haven't done this ... but here's my thought:

  1. set up a ring form that's just a bit smaller than the pan your baking in (should fit inside the crust ... better to be a little bit small than too large).
  2. Cook some sugar to hard crack, and pour it into the form at about 1/16" (1.5mm) deep.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Place the crust in the pan, then the cheese filling, the disk of sugar, then the apple filling, then the top crust, and bake.

I have no idea how much the sugar will soften. Hopefully, it'll dissolve as the apples give off their moisture, but will keep the moisture from mixing with the cheese layer for a longer period of time (so the cheese has started to set up some)

If you try it, I've love to know if it worked or not. I'd try it myself, but I can't eat dairy anymore, so I haven't made cheesecake in years.

  • I am guessing the sugar will dissolve completely, and considering the weight and liquid coming off those apples, it will start dissolving before you can even put it in the oven. It's a neat idea though, although I wouldn't want to risk a super-sweet, syrupy layer in there, depending on how thick a sugar disc you make.... but if you really caramelized the sugar, that would be lovely... – kitukwfyer May 25 '17 at 18:08
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    @kitukwfyer : I was thinking that you'd want to reduce some of the sugar in the apple filling to compensate for the sugar in the disk. – Joe May 25 '17 at 19:10
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I imagine you could do some trickery with gelatine, if you are fine with the final texture. Warning, I haven't tried this, it is a wild idea which can be a fun experiment, but no results guaranteed.

Cover the pie dish with the bottom crust and freeze. Mix gelatine with the cheesy layer and pour into the crust. I would suggest using less than the amount for a stands-on-its-own jelly dessert, you'll need trial and error to find what is the smallest amount usable. When gelled, carefully spread the apples on top and place the upper crust. Bake. If everything goes well, by the time the gelatine melts from the baking temperature, the eggs will set enough to hold up the apples.

I have heard to "never heat set gelatine" and dutifully followed it. So I cannot tell if, when cooling down, the gelatine will set again (making your mouthfeel different from standard pie) or if it will be irreversibly damaged, so you don't get a gelled texture. It would be another thing to watch out for.

If it turns out that the gelatine melting and egg setting are badly timed and the apples still fall to the bottom, you can try methylcellulose. It will set only when heated (so you will have to heat the cheese layer before putting the apples on top) and melt back when cooled. I haven't played with it, so not sure about the proper amounts and temperature ranges.

If everything else fails, you can consider baking your pie in steps. Lower crust with cheese-egg layer goes into the oven first, then layer precooked apples on top (they will do well on stovetop) and assemble a thin raw lattice on top. Bake quickly on upper heat only, or maybe with a broiler, until the crust is done.

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    Would you think that simply adding starch could do the same trick? I only use it with budget cream cheese which tends to be more liquid. I know the texture will change quite a lot, which might not be the case with gelatin powder. – Ruud May 25 '17 at 13:43
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    Starch thickens after it reaches a certain temperature, which varies a bit between different starches but is always above 90 C. Your lower layer will still be runny when you plop the apples on it. One way it might work is to cook the layer with the starch on stovetop, pour it into the crust while still hot (then it will be thick but pourable), wait for it to set firmer as it cools, then add apples and lattice, then bake. – rumtscho May 25 '17 at 13:47
  • I totally forgot about how starch works :) That's why I never used it again and bought proper cream cheese. – Ruud May 25 '17 at 13:53
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Try cooking the cheesecake filling first(in a double boiler perhaps) and then spread it on the crust bottom. After cooking, the filling becomes firmer and the apple pie mixture's moisture should prevent it from hardening further.

  • I wasn't sure that such a thing would work out, but I can try it, since the apples give quite some moist (which in most recipes is usually caught by breadcrumbs on the bottom). – Ruud May 25 '17 at 13:28

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