Sunday, November 18, 2007

pumpkin cheesecake

Tempe baker wins contest with doughnut-laden cheesecake
Marija Potkonjak, Tribune
When Stephanie Matthews entered her Extreme Pumpkin Cheesecake in the Ultimate Krispy Kreme Recipe Contest she was missing a vital ingredient — the Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Last year Krispy Kreme closed its doors in Arizona, posing a problem for Matthews. Incorporating the doughnuts was a must for the contest. Matthews knew her cheesecake was a winner (everyone who tried it told her so) and imagined that substituting the graham cracker crust with Krispy Kreme cinnamon twists and topping it with crumbled pumpkin spice doughnuts would do the trick. It did. Matthews won.

"I went on faith," says the Tempe resident, whose recipe will be featured in the March 2008 issue of Taste of South magazine.

Her prize package includes a Viking mixer worth $400 ("I'd rather have a mixer than a two-carat diamond ring," says Matthews), Lodge cookware and Krispy Kreme gift cards (which she can't use in Arizona).

The gift cards, however, won't go to waste. Matthews' mother lives in Las Vegas, where the doughnut chain still sells boxes of glazed, sugar and chocolate iced cake doughnuts, to name a few favorites. If Matthews needs doughnuts, her mother will overnight them.

The Krispy Kreme contest was Matthews' third. The Massachusetts native's foray into the competitive world of cooking and baking began a few years ago when she became an avid watcher of the Food Network. The self-described foodie ("I like to try weird stuff," says Matthews. "I'd be the first one to reach for the frog legs") came across, a Web site listing recipe contests nationwide.

"I just know I'm just as good as the competitors I see on TV," says Matthews. "You have to keep doing your recipes, testing them on friends and family until they love it."

Now Matthews has two contests in her sights: the prestigious Pillsbury Bake-Off and the $100,000 National Chicken Cook-Off. In the meantime, Matthews is developing recipes and testing them on friends and family, including her 17-year-old son, Christopher. pumpkin_ cheesecake.html. We also love their podcasts, which they do with host Ann Bramley at

ONLINE REVIEW: "This cheesecake has all those nice autumn flavors, perfect to take to a fall get-together. The blend of gingersnap and pumpkin is always a winner, and the texture was much lighter than other cheesecakes, sort of a fluffy pumpkin pie feel."

THE STAR'S REVIEW: The online picture was for individual mini-cheesecakes, although the only directions provided were for a 10-inch cheesecake.

We tested the recipe twice; baking once for 1 hour, which gave the cheesecake a lovely chiffonlike texture that we found most appealing, and for 1  1/2 hours, which yielded a denser cheesecake with a more defined layer of crust. We also reduced the amount of butter in the crust by 2 tablespoons.

Despite leaving it in the oven for an hour after baking as instructed in the recipe, both times the top cracked. Not to worry; simply top with whipped cream and nuts, and no one will be the wiser.

MAKE AHEAD: Make this recipe 1 to 2 days in advance. It needs at least 12 hours to chill.

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap pecan crust
Makes 1 (10-inch) cheesecake or 12 servings

For the crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1  1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

For the filling:

3/4 pound cream cheese, softened (12 ounces)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (about 1  1/2 cups)

3/4 cup heavy cream

1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Toasted pecans for garnish

For the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, gingersnap cookie crumbs and pecans. Press into the bottom of a buttered 10-inch springform pan.

Bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the filling: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Gradually add the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until just blended. To ensure that the batter has no lumps and that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer several times and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in the heavy cream and cinnamon.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan set on a baking sheet. Bake until the edges are set and the center moves only slightly when the pan is shaken. For a light, chiffony cheesecake, bake about 1 hour. For a denser cheesecake, bake 1 hour 30 minutes.

At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and, using a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, cool the cake in the oven 1 hour before removing. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.

For the whipped cream: Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whip with an eggbeater or a whisk until soft peaks form. Serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

To serve: Remove the cake from the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and toasted pecans.

Per serving: 565 calories (67 percent from fat), 43 grams total fat (24 grams saturated), 211 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 237 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -The thick slice of cheesecake embodied what would happen if pumpkin pie were reincarnated in cheesecake form.

But Brad Grosskreutz's Pumpkin Cheesecake has just enough twanginess to remind you that it's cheesecake, not pie. And after a few forkfuls it became clear why he said he and his wife could easily make the entire cheesecake disappear in a day.

Grosskreutz, 37, of Greencastle, and his wife, Becky, are avid bakers who enjoy Pumpkin Cheesecake, especially in the fall when fresh pumpkin is plentiful.

Brad Grosskreutz's recipe combines elements of pumpkin pie - the pumpkin, allspice and cinnamon - with cheesecake essentials, the cream cheese, sugar and eggs.

He uses a crust of ground gingersnaps and walnuts to give it an extra kick.

Grosskreutz said he got the idea for the recipe after looking at a similar one online. Most of his ideas stem from impulse and experimentation.

Grosskreutz, who works in sales, said he once made a Cinco de Mayo-themed cheesecake with tequila in it.

"People said they could taste the tequila, but I don't know about that," he said. "It was really more like a lemon-lime cheesecake."

On the day of the interview, slices of coffee-chocolate chip cheesecake and raspberry cheesecake sat on the counter.

"People give me a lot of credit for making cheesecake, but it's really easy - they just don't realize it," Grosskreutz said.

On a recent morning, Brad Grosskreutz sat with this Herald-Mail reporter, as fresh Pumpkin Cheesecake sat on the countertop, to talk about his love for baking.


Q: So, how did you get into making cheesecakes?

A: Honestly, my mom had a KitchenAid mixer about eight years ago she never used, so I brought it home and just started to mess around with things I could use that KitchenAid mixer for and started making cheesecakes.

Q: So, what do you have against the graham-cracker crust?

A: I don't have anything against it. It's just the first recipe I ever made was a nut crust and I really liked it and everybody else really liked it. So I've just gone and stuck with what I know.

Q: Are there other things you like to make other than cheesecake?

A: Oh, yeah. I bake just about everything. Except for cake. I can't get cake down for some reason. But I like making pies, cheesecakes, tarts, whatever else there is but I just don't like making cake.

Q: Really?

A: Yeah. It doesn't ever seem to turn out. They always turn out really dense, like probably as dense as a cheesecake.

Q: When is the last time you tried a cake?

A: A couple years ago.

Q: You remember what kind it was?

A: It was a chocolate cake. It tasted all right. It was just pretty heavy.

Q: Do you have a favorite food?

A: Do I have a favorite food? Well, my wife and I like to cook and bake, so, basically anything that we've cooked together. I'm not really picky and neither is she.

Q: Anything you won't touch?

A: No, not really. I've been all over, and I travel a lot, and I like everything.


Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 cup gingersnaps, crushed
3/4 cup ground walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter


4 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
4 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin, cut up, boiled and pureéd
1/4 cup whipping cream

For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix the gingersnaps, nuts and brown sugar. Cut in the butter and mix. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and then cool on a rack.

For the filling, beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until mixed well. Add cinnamon and allspice. Beat in one egg at a time, making sure to use a rubber spatula on the sides to incorporate all the cream cheese. Add and mix in the pumpkin, then the whipping cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and place in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or until the mixture sets.

Cool in the pan for 30 minutes on a cooling rack and then run a sharp knife along the inside edge of the pan. Remove the springform ring. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Don't feel like cooking a big turkey dinner? Many area restaurants are set to serve Thanksgiving dinner for you with all the traditional dishes from roasted turkey to stuffing to pumpkin pie.

Some of the restaurants listed also offer Thanksgiving to go.


Be certain to check the hours of serving, as some restaurants have specific seating times. Most require reservations and most prices do not include tax and gratuity.

Here is a sampling of what's being offered at area restaurants.

The Brookshire Restaurant: Four-course menu including turkey with sage and onion stuffing, Camembert gravy and apricot compote; Atlantic salmon with sautéed spinach, garlic creamed potatoes and spicy tomato chutney and asparagus; prime rib with rosemary au jus, creamy horseradish sauce and Yorkshire pudding. Young children's menu available. Noon-7 p.m. 600 E. University, Rochester. 248-453-8732. $42, $21 ages 5-12.

Diamond Center: Roasted turkey with giblet gravy, herb dressing, honey-glazed ham, roasted sirloin au jus, mashed potatoes and candied yams. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 46100 Grand River, Novi. 248-348-5600. $22.95, $18.95 seniors, $12.95 ages 5-12, younger than 4 free.

Dimitri's on the Avenue: Roasted turkey and trimmings, smoked Virginia ham, mostaccioli with marinara, salads and desserts. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. 14316 Michigan, Dearborn. 313-584-1515. $12.95, $7.95 ages 2-10.

Elite Kosher Catering Inc.: Thanksgiving to-go, all items are certified kosher. Non-diary (lactose free) and gluten-free items available. Place order Friday. Order ready for pickup 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 21. 6800 Drake, West Bloomfield. 248-592-0200. Single dinner packages start at $19.95. Family turkey dinner packages start at $69.95, plus side dishes.

Forté, a Birmingham Restaurant: Classic Caesar or Woodward salad, choice of whitefish, short ribs or turkey dinner, along with pumpkin cheesecake or apple pie. 2, 4 and 6 p.m. seatings. 201 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham. 248-594-7300. $29.95, ages 12 and under $15.95.

G. Subu's Leather Bottle: Thanksgiving fare, noon-5 p.m. 20300 Farmington, Livonia. 248-474-2420. $15.95, ages 8 and under $9.95.

The Gatehouse Grille: Oven-roasted turkey, beef sirloin with mushroom bordelaise, baked ham, baked chicken, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 4161 N. Adams, Rochester Hills. 248-608-7830. $25, ages 13 and younger $12, ages 5 and younger free. Carryout on pre-order basis $30 per person. Order by Mon.

Gino's Surf Banquet Center: Buffet, roast turkey, homemade stuffing, candied yams, bread pudding, baked cod, creamy whipped potatoes and more. Turkey to go also available. Reservations required. Noon-4 p.m. 37400 Jefferson, Harrison Twp. 586-468-2611. $18.95 adults, ages 4-10 $8.95.

Lazybones Smokehouse: Thanksgiving-to-go, dinner (serves 8-10) made from scratch Thanksgiving morning. Applewood smoked turkey or deep-fried Cajun turkey, smokehouse slaw, ambrosia salad, bread stuffing, cheddar creamed corn, green bean casserole, cranberry-orange relish, cornbread, pumpkin pie. Pick up orders between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thanksgiving. 27475 Groesbeck, Roseville. 866-671-0221. $99.99 if ordered by Mon., $109.99 after Mon.

Lily's Seafood: Southern deep-fried turkey, honey-cured Virginia ham, house-smoked salmon, oyster cornbread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce and dessert buffet. Served family style. Noon-8 p.m. 410 S. Washington, Royal Oak. 248-591-5459. $19.95, ages 6-12 $9.95, 5 and younger free.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, caramel sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. Regular menu and carryout packages available. Noon-9 p.m. 2850 Coolidge Hwy., Troy. 248-637-7508. $21.95, younger than 12 $12.95.

Meriwether's: Traditional Thanksgiving fare. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 25485 Telegraph, Southfield. 248-358-1310. $19.99, ages 10 and younger $9.99.

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino: Wolfgang Puck Grille Thanksgiving dinner features a la carte dinner menu items plus specials of butternut squash soup with apple compote and cardamom crème fraîche, roasted turkey plate with sage stuffing, garlic potato purée and giblet gravy; and pumpkin cheesecake with gingerbread and citrus-cranberry relish, 3:30-9 p.m. 1777 Third St., Detroit. 877-888-2121. Prices vary.

MotorCity Casino: 2901 Grand River & Lodge Freeway, Detroit. 313-237-7711.

• Thanksgiving buffet, Iridescence restaurant, assorted holiday salads, seafood raw bar, carving station with turkey and baked ham, bread stuffing, candied yams and assorted holiday desserts. Noon-midnight. $21.

• Thanksgiving dinner, Iridescence restaurant, three-course menu. Squash soup with chestnut purée, smoked turkey breast with leg confit, pumpernickel and cranberry bread pudding and pumpkin cheesecake, 5-11 p.m. $36.

New Seoul Garden Restaurant: Thanksgiving Korean style, traditional Korean/Japanese cuisine, noon-10 p.m. 27566 Northwestern, Southfield. 248-827-1600. $10-$20.

The Oak Room Grille: Traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, noon-8 p.m. 7200 S. River, Marine City. 810-765-3210. $14.95, 10 and younger $5.95, prime rib $17.95, jumbo shrimp dinner $15.95, assorted desserts $3.95.

One Under Banquet Facility: Cold salads, cranberry relish, carved oven-roasted turkey, sliced honey-baked glazed ham, butternut squash and ravioli with pesto cream sauce. 11 a.m. 35780 Five Mile, Livonia. 734-464-5555. $16.95, $15.95 seniors, ages 5-10 $8.95, 4 and younger free.

Prime Time Restaurant: Roast turkey, soup and salad, fresh vegetables or potato, home-baked bread. Steaks and seafood will also be offered separately. 1:30-8 p.m. 28001 Harper, St. Clair Shores. 586-777-5000. $13.95, $7.95 children.

The Rhapsody: Turkey and traditional trimmings. Additional menu items also available. 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., 14315 Northline, Southgate. 734-283-9622. $13.95, $4.95 children.

Ritz-Carlton: Thanksgiving buffet/dinner, traditional Thanksgiving fare at the Plaza in the afternoon, a la carte menu (priced separately) at the Grill restaurant in the evening. 1-2:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Nov. 22. 300 Town Center, Dearborn. 313-441-2000. $65, $30 children.

Royal Park Hotel: Dinner buffet, menu items: Salads, seafood, pasta station, warm breads and rolls, carving stations and hot food tables featuring herb-roasted turkey, roast prime sirloin, fresh tandoori-roasted Atlantic salmon and desserts. Traditional Thanksgiving menu items and children's buffet also available. 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 600 E. University, Rochester. 248-652-2600. Buffet: $45, ages 5-12 $22.50.

Rugby Grille: Four-course meal including pan-seared Norwegian salmon, applewood-smoked prime rib or roast turkey with all the trimmings. Noon. 100 Townsend, Birmingham. 248-642-5999. $68 for roast turkey, $72 Norwegian salmon, $75 prime rib.

Seldom Blues: Thanksgiving brunch buffet with breakfast bar with eggs, sausage, gravy and biscuits, bacon and waffle station. Fresh fruit and cheese bar, carving station with herb-crusted prime rib au jus and roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy. Buffet items are honey-baked ham, sourdough stuffing, bread pudding and glazed brussels sprouts. Chilled seafood bar and assorted desserts. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 400 Renaissance Center, Detroit. 313-567-8734. $46, ages 5-12 $23.

Sportsmen's Den Restaurant and Lounge: Thanksgiving buffet with roast turkey and stuffing, honey-glazed ham, rosemary chicken, mostaccolli with meat sauce, side dishes, salad and cole slaw and pumpkin pie. A limited dinner menu will be offered. Noon-6 p.m. 15001 Sibley, Riverview. 734-479-4800. $13.95, ages 3-10 $7.95.

Steak and Ale Restaurant: Traditional turkey dinner with salad bar, soups and desserts. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. 40347 Ann Arbor E, Plymouth. 734-453-8080. $16.99, $6.99 for children. Prime rib, $21.99.

Tribute Restaurant: Dinner includes roast turkey with traditional accompaniments, pan-seared black cod and jumbo asparagus, king crab cake, tomato fondue, yellow tomato Béarnaise grilled beef tenderloin, potato gratin. 1 and 4 p.m. seatings. 31425 W. Twelve Mile, Farmington Hills. 248-848-9393. $75 per person. Children accommodated upon request.

Vintage House: Roasted turkey breast, roast Angus sirloin, ham, stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, imported cheese and crackers, desserts table and cash bar. Reservations recommended. 1 p.m. 31816 Utica, Fraser. 586-415-5678. $17.95, ages 10 and younger $9.95.

Waves: Buffet: Harvest butternut squash soup, salads, turkey with stuffing and giblet gravy, chef-carved prime rib or beef, Parmesan-crusted chicken breast, wild mushroom risotto, shrimp and scallop primavera, roasted wild salmon with creamy horseradish lentils, mashed Yukon gold potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie. Reservations recommended. Noon-7 p.m. 24223 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. 586-773-3279. $18.99, ages 5-10 $7.99, 4 and younger free.



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