Cheesecake calzone: It's a concept you'd expect to find while searching for "a vegetarian stuffing so good it will make you weep" or "18 seriously disgusting desserts that need to be stopped."
The dessert—served at Lucali in Brooklyn (yes, where Beyoncé has been seen) is not hard to make: Slices of high-quality cheesecake (Sifton says to buy it) are tucked inside pizza dough along with strawberries and a splash of balsamic. The pocket is baked on a pizza stone in a hot oven until golden brown, then dusted with confectioners' sugar.
"Really, it's insane,"says Sifton, in his version of "This ultimate mouthwatering dessert is so good that it will change your life."
And to me, cheesecake calzone sounds incredibly good: a crunchy, slightly doughy crust with a warm, sweet yet cheesy filling (in my fantasy, it's sort of like the warm cheese inside blintzes). After I read the newsletter, I was imagining all the other desserts I could tuck inside a calzone: pumpkin pie, cookie dough, lemon custard...
Still, I can only predict how media—myself included—would deride (or ignore) this dessert if it were featured not at a pricey restaurant but at Pizza Hut, brought to national attention not by an authoritative food publication like the New York Times but on a site that's known for attention-grabbing headlines.
When is a cheesecake calzone a great idea versus an insane spectacle? When is a dessert decadent, and when is it just too much? Is it really determined by the venue where it's served? Or the language with which it's presented? Or its price point?
None of that is to say that Food52 doesn't produce and publicize recipes that straddle the line between crazy-good and just plain crazy. Was there a time, before I thought that the skillet cookie was the best possible version of a cookie, that I mocked it?
And that makes me think: If the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich were served in the hottest restaurant in Soho rather than in the Southwest terminal of the airport, would it be lauded as insanely creative rather than excessive? If you made it at home, or made the recipe accessible to a home cook, would that be celebrated as brilliant rather than brazen?
I would happily try the cheesecake calzone at Lucali. I'm sure I would enjoy it. But I don't think I'd go out of my way to buy or make a cheesecake and buy or make pizza dough in order to combine the two.
Then again, if Sam Sifton says it's insane, it probably is.
Would you make a cheesecake calzone? What's the most crazy-decadent dessert you've ever made? Tell us in the comments!