Rich. That, in a word, sums up cheesecake. A good cheesecake, that is. And at Peteet's Famous Cheesecakes, Patrick Peteet – founder, baker and dad of two boys – loves spreading the word. In fact, he boasts a "95 percent conversion rate." That is, folks who swore they didn't like the stuff until trying his.
"We don't say our cheesecake's the best," says Peteet, who launched his original Oak Park store in 2010. "We let the pubic do the talking."
He's ready to win more converts with West Bloomfield location opening in April 2014. Like the original, it'll sell 90 total flavors (30 a day) of its iconic two-layer cakes, from top-selling sweet potato to PB&J to vodka-infused picks, not to mention apple crumb, Reese's Peanut Butter and plenty more.
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And Peteet, who runs the shop with his family, doesn't skimp on ingredients. "It's an expensive item to make. It's not cheap," he says. But though it's the "Mercedes" of sweets, you can swing by for a free sample to judge for yourself.
It's also an underserved niche, Peteet says. "It's America's No. 1 dessert that is sold in restaurants today," he says, but few shops focus on it exclusively.
Peteet, who has his long-term sites set on franchising, is also beefing up the other cheesecake-based goodies at his latest store, too, like ice creams, brownies, cupcakes, cookies and kid-fave push pops.
"The sugar" wins tykes over, he laughs. "And it's flavorful. The kids love the cheesecake. They just like the texture of it. It's different."
Ready to join the 95 percent? Try one of Peteet's popular recipes. The secret: "You're using fresh strawberries and bananas. That's the difference right there!"
- 9-inch springform cake pan
- Food processor
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 3 packages (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup pureed bananas
- 1/4 cup pureed strawberries
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar; press onto bottom of 9-inch spring form pan.
- Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream, bananas, strawberries and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.
- Bake one hour to one hour and 10 minutes – or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake for four hours.