Monday, April 28, 2008
Pop Goes the Cheesecake
My daughter was about 6 when she had her first taste of cheesecake. It was love at first bite and she ate so much of it she got wretchedly sick on it. Cheesecake is like that. It's delightful, but a little goes a long way.
What a good idea, then to put a little bit on a stick. And then cover it with chocolate. And add sprinkles. This was the happy idea for this month's Daring Baker's challenge. Elle ofFeeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell decided on this fun recipe for the Daring Bakers to take on.
I was enthusiastic when it was announced, but in the actual execution of the recipe I had a few stumbling blocks and by the end of the process I was much less than jolly about this challenge.
The 10-inch cake pan that I have isn't super deep and the cheesecake sort of mushroomed up and over the edge while it baked. Fortunately, there were no drips to scorch on the bottom of the pan and it didn't matter if it looked elegant as the cheesecake was just going to be scooped out anyway.
Scooping was messy, to put it mildly. The cheesecake was a wonderfully creamy consistency, which would have been great for a slice, but to try to get a neat scoop or chunk was difficult. I tried some scoops, then just cut triangles out and scooped up the leftovers. Both were untidy. And I learned quickly that licking the fingers to deal with the mess means you end up eating a lot of cheesecake.
Then there was the sheer volume of cheesecake I had to deal with. Two full cookie sheets of cheesecake blops to find room for in my freezer. I'm fortunate to have an extra freezer in the garage. If I'd had to squish them into my itty bitty refrigerator freezer, I'd have been doomed.
Then the dipping of the pops went on as long as a cross country car trip and I used about twice as much chocolate as the recipe called for. I'm not sure if I overdid on the chocolate, but I couldn't see how else to do it. Dipping is not a strong point of mine. I enlisted my daughters to help. I dipped, then passed off the pop to eldest daughter who sprinkled, then she passed off to youngest who held a fist full of pops till the chocolate set enough so that they could be set down on a plate. Thank you girls!
So, now we have a freezer full of pretty party pops. Drop by and have some. Please! Because for now, I've had enough of cheesecake.
Be sure to check out the other (much more talented and less whiny) Daring Bakers and their beautiful version of the Cheesecake Pops.
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.