The Grand Strand's #1 Dessert

April 2021
Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw
Photographs by: 
Paul Grimshaw

Dig into the delicious cheesecake you voted as number one in our Grand Desserts contest

Some 25 years ago while working as a marketing analyst for Campbell’s Soup in her native New Jersey, Kathy Lucyszyn was introduced to a cheesecake made by a colleague’s wife; a dessert so rich and creamy, but with plenty of crunchy textures and flavors, that she insisted on the recipe. The decadent Crème de Noyaux Cheesecake (pictured above) instantly became a hit with the family and Lucyszyn has made it several times each year ever since. This year, the dessert took the first place title in Grand Strand Magazine’s Grand Desserts contest, sponsored by Greg Norman Australian Grille. She won a $200 Greg Norman Australian Grille gift card and Greg Norman Estates wine.

Lucyszyn was among the four finalists, amateur home cooks who had their recipes duplicated by the Greg Norman Australian Grille’s chefs and served on the menu for one month. Out of some 1,500 votes, Lucyszyn’s Crème de Noyaux Cheesecake emerged as the winner, edging out a White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding by Cindy Gordon, a S’Mores Cheesecake by Valerie Harris and Toby’s Best Banana Pudding by Toby Bollinger.

Grand Desserts contest winner Kathy Lucyszyn of Calabash, N.C., is pictured with Greg Norman Australian Grille general manager David Harrell (far left), Grand Strand Magazine editor/publisher Pete Banko and GNAG chef Huey Gratto (far right).

“I’m just a home cook,” says Lucyszyn, who lives in Calabash, N.C., with her husband, George. “I finally retired to play golf full time.” After a lifetime of cooking for the family—the Lucyszyns have a grown son—she says, “I do like to experiment and always try new things.”

Congratulations to all our finalists, and thanks to Greg Norman Australian Grille, all who entered and those who voted online. Here’s the recipe to try at home.

Crème de Noyaux Cheesecake

1.5 cups crushed chocolate wafers
1 cup finely chopped almonds
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature, divided
4 eggs
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Cream of Almond liqueur (Crème de Noyaux)
2 teaspoon vanilla, divided
1.5 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar

Crust: Thoroughly combine chocolate wafers, chopped almonds, butter and 1/3 cup sugar in food processor. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

Cake: Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and eggs, one at a time. Add heavy cream, Crème de Noyaux and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour over crust into springform pan, bake 45 to 55 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven. Cheesecake is done when cracks form on top and it is still slightly jiggly. Remove cheesecake from oven.

Topping: Combine sour cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Spread across top of still-hot cheesecake and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Add slivered almonds to rim (option: pre-toast the slivered almonds in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to assembly). Let cool completely before serving.