I was still feeling a bit dejected from stuffing up last month's Daring Baker challenge when I saw Elle and Deborah's April dare. It promisingly looked delicious and fun- Cheesecake Pops. I've never had these before, let alone attempted making them.
The pops looked like the perfect treat to take to our favourite twins' fourth birthday party. The do was to be held over the ANZAC long-weekend which means I get an extra day of playing around lest things don't work out the first time around. I need not have worried. These were actually quite easy to make.
Basically, one makes a baked cheesecake, let this firm up, scoop balls out of the cake, freeze the pops and then dip them in chocolate and then decorate. See, doesn't that sound easy? I made less than the specified quantity in the original recipe but this recipe seems quite amenable to adjustments. I wasn't very strict with the measurements and ratios but the cheesecake turned out beautifully light (for a cheesecake anyway. None of that dense texture which I don't particulary enjoy) and yet firm. Instead of using 5 tubs of cream cheese, I only used 3. I used 3 eggs (instead of 5), 1 egg yolk (instead of 2) and 1 cup of sugar (instead of 2). These quantities produced 25 pops.
Oh and I baked the cheesecake for 70minutes, instead of the recommended 35-40mins. I used a spring-form tin, wrapped in three layers of foil to avoid water getting in. I have to say, this is the very first successful cheesecake I have made, no cracks- the top was as smooth as a bub's bottom.
The recipe also calls for scooping out balls of cheesecake but I decided to slice up the cake into cubes. Less wasteage and mess that way, I reckon. The cheesecake morsels were coated in white and dark chocolate from either end of the luxury spectrum. The 250g of white chocolate was a cheap and cheerful, store home-brand. The dark chocolate was Couverture. They were what I had in the cupboard, not really because there was some well-thought out reasoning behind the choices. Curiously, both kinds of chocolate turned out very well after melting them with a tablespoon of shortening. They formed sweet, crunchy shells over the frozen cheesecake cubes.
As for decorating, the pops, no sophisticated bling on mine. Just a sprinkling of colours from rainbow choc chips, butterfly shapes and hundreds-and-thousands.
The pops were a hit at the party! It wasn't a particularly warm day and they held up well on the wooden craft sticks I used. These just make such cute nibbles for the little ones but the taste was much appreciated by the grown-ups. Thanks for a fun challenge Elle and Deborah.
Here is the original recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor.
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional
Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.