It's the most wonderful – and busiest – time of the year at Anthony's Cheesecake in Bloomfield.
Co-owners of the beloved Washington Street shop Anthony Lauro and Philip Byrne stepped out of the kitchen Tuesday to talk holiday desserts, what they're thankful for this Turkey Day and more for Patch's "Five Questions With" column.
What Thanksgiving dessert is everyone ordering from your store?
No surprise here: Lauro and Byrne said pumpkin cheesecake is their biggest seller this time of year, with sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie not far behind.
How many orders have you racked up for Thanksgiving?
The quaint shop has gotten at least 400 orders so far for Thanksgiving pies and cheesecakes and will be baking through Thursday.
"I always find the weekend before Thanksgiving is all about food, turkey and the fixings," said Lauro. "(The customers) wait to call us. Then it's all about dessert."
What are you thankful for?
Both men are grateful for their family, health and thriving business (Anthony's Cheesecake just scored a deal with the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan and had become the official cheesecake of MetLife Stadium in 2011).
But Lauro said he's also thankful for the Bloomfield community, which banded together to help others in wake of Super Storm Sandy.
"I'm thankful everyone came together," he said of Anthony's Cheesecake patrons dropping off food donations for the United Way and relief centers in Montclair.
Any tips when it comes to baking for Thanksgiving?
The two experts know just the trick behind baking the perfect homemade cheesecake. Keep your cake pristine and crack-free by baking it in a hot water bath, Lauro and Byrne said.
And avoid opening the oven to check if it's done. Instead, Byrne said he jiggles the oven door to see if the cake baked through.
What satisfies your sweet tooth?
Lauro prefers the black and white cheesecake, layered with New York and chocolate mousse cheesecake on top of a chocolate cookie crust, while Byrne reaches for the brownie explosion cheesecake with brownie bites mixed into the cheesecake on a homemade fudge brownie bottom.