Keeping It Flavorful: A cheesecake love song, the pumpernickel is good too

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Upper Crust Baking’s cheesecake topped with peach slices and blueberries. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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After my ordeal with the hospital, I’m supposed to not only be taking it easy but also eating healthy-ish. I’ve held off on slathering my broccoli and beef with hot chili oil, passed on burgers and greasy foods, and limited myself on enjoying not too many deep-fried french fries. However, as soon as I was able to really move about again — I found myself walking through the doors of Upper Crust Baking.

Since my last food column, I am not ashamed to say I have gone in at least three to four times. I had impatiently scrolled through the Davis location’s Instagram feed, dreaming of the day I’d be able to get my hands on those fancy, delicious looking pastries.

I know a lot of you are all about the doughnuts, but I am all about the cheesecake. I have talked non-stop about how much I wanted to try a taste of Upper Crust’s cheesecake, and the moment finally came when I was at my friend Brittny’s house. Her mom brought some in. I’m not one to ever be impolite and turn down a slice of cheesecake.

I’m not claiming to be a cheesecake connoisseur, but between baking my own versions, partaking in frozen cheesecake on a stick at the fair, experiencing cheesecake-tasting classes, and eating some not great cheesecakes — I believe I have a well-rounded opinion of what delicious cheesecake tastes like. Upper Crust Baking’s cheesecake is where it’s at.

It was so tasty that when I walked into the bakery for my first visit, I shamelessly walked out with an entire cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries and peach slices. It was beautiful, and the fresh fruit only added to the experience. It’s worth the purchase.

The cheesecake is a New York style recipe. It is dense, creamy, and silky on your tongue. It’s the perfect balance of richness and sweetness baked in a flaky, pie pastry crust. I have yet to confirm if that’s what it really is, but the flaky texture is what it reminded me of. And, I don’t know if I can truly enjoy it with a plain, boring graham cracker crust again.

I can also tout that the pumpkin spice cheesecake is delicious. I’m not much of a pumpkin spice gal. I’m brazen enough to claim that apples are the ultimate fall flavor. But I was open-minded enough to snag a piece of pumpkin cheesecake on my most recent visit — It was a wise choice.

It’s their creamy, decadent cheesecake with pumpkin folded in. And it doesn’t taste fake or processed. It doesn’t taste like the trendy “pumpkin spice” that gets created around this time of year. It tastes clean, sweet, and just like a pumpkin cheesecake should. I’m fairly certain that it is seasonal, so do not wait to go in and get yourself a slice or three.

I also let my oldest daughter pick out a slice of cheesecake for her birthday last week. She opted for the slice with chocolate on top. She was so gracious, she allowed me to have a bite. It was delicious, again. I feel compelled to try every type of cheesecake they craft and offer in their display case.

I foresee a slice of cheesecake and a glass of Albariño or Roussanne wine in my future. The thought of pairing a crisp, white wine with a creamy bite of cheesecake makes my mouth water at the thought. (Those are also the options on my wine shelf right now. Work smarter, not harder.)

I am also a fan of the bakers’ homemade bread. I’ll be transparent, though, and tell you I’ve only brought home the Raisin Pumpernickel so far. It’s not that I don’t want to try anything else, it’s more that I have enjoyed it so much that I cannot help but grab a new one when I go in to get some cheesecake. That, and I’m married to a bread guy — I have to support what literally puts the bread on my table.

Pumpernickel is not for everyone. But it’s one of my favorite breads (along with a good marbled rye). The taste is homey, earthy, and flavorful. Upper Crust Baking’s Raisin Pumpernickel does not disappoint. Each slice is jam-packed with juicy, sweet raisins and plump, golden raisins.

I toast it and spread on butter or cream cheese, depending on my preference at the moment. I’ve even added some boysenberry jam on top. It’s delicious as I’m running out the door to drop my children off at school. It’s an easy snack to bring back to my work desk. It’s also satisfying when I know I’m one of the few people in my house who will enjoy it.

If pumpernickel just is not your thing, Upper Crust Baking features a variety of other types of bread to try. One of these days, I’ll convince myself to give the Birdseed or the Jewish Deli Rye a chance.

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