I actually made this challenge before I made the actual October challenge, because I was so excited about making dessert wontons! The original recipe was for deep-fried chocolate wontons from her new book, but upon reading “*Note: This second dessert challenge is about being creative with filling and form. Knock yourselves out!”, I decided to take this advice and run with it, haha. So instead of chocolate, I wanted something that reflected the coming Autumn a bit, and this idea developed into “apple cinnamon cheesecake”. There are two fillings together in this wonton, an apple pie filling of sorts, and a no-bake vanilla and cinnamon cheesecake. In order to be gluten free the wontons were made from rice paper spring roll wrappers. After my last issues w/ gluten free wonton-like recipes, I went ahead and purchased spring roll wrappers. They were much thinner and more uniform than I’d ever be able to do by hand anyways, and there were enough other parts to this dessert it didn’t seem like too much of a cop-out to me. They were then deep-fried in canola oil and immediately doused with cinnamon sugar, and then served topped with a homemade maple & caramel sauce. It seems quite complicated (and it was!), but the end result was perfection.
My husband described them best when he first tasted one – he loved how the tastes came in various stages and levels. First came the cinnamon sugar and caramel from the outside, and the apple, and slowly the creamy cheesecake flavors. They all developed slowly in the mouth and then finally came together at the end. Pretty cool!
If you want to make something that will wow all of those who try it, this is definitely the dessert to make!
For the apple pie filling:
2 apples, diced
2 tbs. butter, cubed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 vanilla bean
For the wontons:
rice paper spring roll wrappers (at least 4″ diameter)
bowl of water
canola oil (for frying)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, cubed
3 tbs. of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1. Make the cheesecake filling – Soften the cream cheese with a hand mixer, then beat in the sweetened condensed milk. Scrape out vanilla seeds from the bean and add to the mixture, along with cinnamon. Beat until all incorporated, and then set in the fridge for at least 2 hrs.
2. Make the apple pie filling – While that is chilling, make the apple pie filling. Add apples to a small pot, and heat on medium until things start to brown. Stir in the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the apples are softened. Then keep heating, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.
3. Make the caramel sauce – This recipe is adapted from Chef Ramsay’s recipe that I made a couple weeks ago. Keep the heat on medium low, and melt the sugar in a pot. Once melted, stir frequently and let brown to the color of caramel that you desire. Immediately remove from heat, and whisk in butter until incorporated, then whisk in sweetened condensed milk and maple syrup. Keep whisking until smooth and homogenized. Put back on the heat and let it come to a boil again before setting aside.
4. Assembling the wontons – Take a spring roll wrapper and moisten on both sides by dipping your fingers in water and then manually moistening the wrappers. It may take a few tries to find the right amount of water to use, so that the wrappers are pliable without tearing but not too gummy. I suggest practicing a few times before adding filling. Then spoon in the center the cheesecake filling, and then top with the apple pie filling:
To roll the wrappers, fold opposite sides over to the middle, then fold the perpendicular sides in. You may want to moisten the back just slightly to make sure it is all together. You should have a nice rectangular sized packet filled with apple cinnamon cheesecake goodness, and I laid mine all down folded sides on the bottom:
5. Deep frying – fill a pot with at least 2″ of oil, and use a thermometer attached to your pot to keep track of the temperature. You want the temp to be between 340F and 350F. Deep frying can take a bit of watching, so I did these one at a time. If you are more coordinated and feel you can do more than one at a time, then go for it. While the oil is heating up, mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. The biggest thing to watch for is to make sure you keep the folded side up while it is frying for the first 30 s. What I found is if the folded side is down, then the steam from the filling will cause huge air pockets to form on the top which will then burst the wontons open causing your delicious filling to splatter everywhere and you to get sprayed with very hot oil. Not a good situation. So I used my slotted spatula to keep it folded side up (very gently!!) until I was sure it wasn’t going to burst open. After about a minute or so, I flipped it over to brown the other side, and then after another minute (or if I noticed the wonton had broken and filling was starting to come out – which is very obvious by all the sudden loud splattering bubbles that occurs), I scooped it out with the slotted spatula and immediately laid it in the cinnamon sugar. Spoon cinnamon sugar over the wontons, and then set aside to cool.
6. To serve - Slice an apple and display on a plate. Arrange 2 – 3 wonton pillows, and drizzle with caramel sauce. Enjoy!