“I was originally shown this recipe by my best friends mother while prepping holiday family meals. Being 100% Polish and having a huge family on both sides, holiday cooking was a serious matter which required everyone’s help,” Omni Interlocken Hotel’s Executive Chef Joshua Hasho recalled about his holiday traditions.
“From making gołąbki (stuffed cabbage leaves), to making dill pickle soup, and rolling sour cream and onion pierogis, the quantity of dishes was always over the top. One of the dishes we were prepping was cheesecake, which at the time I thought was curiously non Polish. When I questioned the authenticity of this dish, my friend’s mom simply replied that ‘it’s not Polish until we top it with sour cream!’ The cheesecake is topped with a sweetened sour cream then garnished with praline and drizzled with a caramel sauce. Holiday or not, for me, this cheesecake has become a staple dish for any gathering where a traditional dish gets a little Polish touch.”
Pumpkin Praline New York Cheesecake
2.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups half-n-half
2 oz butter
½ tsp. baking soda
2 cups pecan pieces
Combine all in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (except the nuts). Bring to a boil and cook to 238 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, stir in nuts until mixture becomes cloudy. Spread onto greased parchment, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow to cool.
6 cups ground gingerbread cookies
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
*You are only making a bottom crust; parbaked, in a pan sprayed and lined on the bottom with parchment
8 oz butter
6 oz sugar
1.5 oz flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
7 oz eggs
2 oz cream
2 oz sour cream
Paddle the cream cheese on low speed, scraping the bowl and paddle several times, until very smooth. Add the butter, mixing until well combined. Scrape the bowl and paddle well. Combine the sugar and flour in a bowl, then gradually incorporate it into the cheese/butter mixture. Add the eggs slowly, making certain that they are well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice, mixing well. Add the cream and sour cream, mixing well. Scoop about 1/3 of the mixture into a smaller bowl and stir in 1C pumpkin powder (Albert Uster Imports; it’s the best), ¾ C sugar and pumpkin pie spice to taste. Taste it and add more pumpkin powder spices until it is to your liking. Layer the flavored filling with the plain filling in the pan, swirling a bit. Bake in 300F oven in a water bath, uncovered until set. Do not be alarmed at how dark the top gets.
2 cups sour cream
Suagr to taste
Whisk sour cream with sugar until smooth. Spread on top of the fully baked cheesecake and top with crumbled praline. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecakes in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and freeze overnight in the pan before cutting into 12 slices.
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Growing up on the outskirts of Detroit, I credit my love for anything fresh and local with growing up in a very “outdoorsy” family that often took family camping vacations that included afternoons fishing on lakes or weekend hunting trips with my dad cleaning and preparing deer. I knew at a young age that becoming a Chef was what I ultimately wanted as a career but at that time had no idea how simple childhood memories would be the genesis of what is most important to me as a chef.
Attending Schoolcraft College in Livonia Michigan and staging around at local restaurants, I was exposed to local chefs like Brian Polcyn and Takashi Yagihashi, who helped develop an appreciation for all things culinary, especially butchery and charcuterie skills, along with an intense work ethic which plat formed my career beginning at the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn Michigan. From there I have held positions as Chef de Cuisine at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey California, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach, as well as stints at the Ritz Carlton in Westchester New York and The French Laundry in Yountville California.
As the Executive Chef at the Omni Interlocken Hotel my philosophy of keeping it local and simple is fortified by building strong relationships with the farmers from the surrounding Colorado area. “The farmers and Mother Nature have done all of the hard work for us, it’s our responsibility to not screw it up.”