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Crust gives cheesecake a kick

Ground gingersnaps and walnuts replace graham crackers

Ground gingersnaps and walnuts replace graham crackers

November 18, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

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.

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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



Crust

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

Filling

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 pure├ęd
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.

- Recipe courtesy of Brad Grosskreutz

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