A terrific sweet for the spring season!
By Ari Weinzweig
I’ve loved cheesecake for as long as I can remember. And I’ve long believed that the Bakehouse’s version is amazing. It’s also a bit of a “secret” specialty—it’s understandable I guess, there are so many other marvelous options to choose from. But having tasted a lot of cheesecakes around the world, I will say with confidence the Bakehouse’s is something special. For spring, the pastry crew craft up a superb seasonal twist. They add Michigan rhubarb to the mix, resulting in something amazing. It really is terrifically tasty. Tentatively tart, rich from the cream cheese, the butteriness of the crust. Brad Hedeman at Mail Order, who’s worked here for like 30 years now, writes:
To this Michigan boy, nothing says “spring is here” like the broad leaves of rhubarb sprouting up in gardens and forest edges all over the place. Rhubarb is one of those love-it-or-leave-it foods that typically shows up in crumbles and crisps with a sweet counterpart like strawberries. But in this case, the rhubarb is the perfect foil to the smooth, rich, sweet flavors you normally experience with cheesecake. The brightness and slightly tart notes cause your tastebuds to punch through the buttery richness of the cheesecake so that you don’t just taste the creaminess, you taste and experience all the flavors for all the feels. The master bakers at Zingerman’s Bakehouse start with hand-ladled cream cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery, the same base we use for our classic cheesecake. The rhubarb is chopped and layered at the bottom of the cheesecake, sitting atop the sugar cookie crust. That way each bite comes from a fresh, bright burst of rhubarb to balance the decadence of the cheesecake. Folks will be sneaking bites of this dessert for as long as it lasts. At least that’s what happened in my house. I woke up the next morning to find four forks in the fridge, but no more cheesecake. It’s that good.
While it’s great every day, the Rhubarb Cheesecake is especially appropriate for celebrating the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in spring, which marks the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. In the spirit of Fourme d’Ambert, food writer Joan Nathan says “Cheesecake became a tradition for Jews because of the cycle of the year, when Shavuot welcomes the plentiful milk of springtime with dairy dishes.” Swing by the Deli, the Creamery, or the Roadhouse for a slice or two!