2 3/4 pounds large Granny Smith apples (about 6 apples)
1 2/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 15 whole crackers)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup apple jelly
Sweetened whipped cream
1. Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss together apples and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and golden. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350º. Stir together cinnamon graham cracker crumbs and next 2 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and cool crust completely before filling (about 30 minutes).
3. Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1 1/3 cups brown sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended and smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared crust. Arrange apples over cream cheese mixture.
4. Bake at 350º for 55 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until set. Remove from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides of pan.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
5. Cook apple jelly and 1 tsp. water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until jelly is melted; brush over apples on top of cheesecake. Serve with whipped cream.