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.