Daring Bakers - Cheesecake Pops
I am a slave to recipes. I admit it. I'm drawn to a recipe because I want to try THAT. And if I'm really honest:
a) if I muck around with it I will just end up with a mess and have to stand there sadly scraping it into the bin; and
b) I rarely have any better ideas. I'm not known for my foodie imagination.
But when I saw this month's Daring Baker's challenge - cheesecake pops - it's like something clicked in my brain. I was just coming up with ideas left, right and centre. The little grey cells were on fire. It got to the point where I was worried that I would not have enough pops to demonstrate my creative genius. Heaven forbid!!!!
It was all alright in the end. The recipe said 40 pops, I think I ended up with about 60. I did this by breaking the Daring Baker rules. Oh dear! There I said it. Before I am blackballed into oblivion, let me explain my truly excellent excuse. I could not find lollipop sticks. I tried. The only other thing I could think of was wooden skewers, which are long and thin and not built for 2oz pops (as directed by the hosts). So I made them skewer appropriate. I throw myself on the mercy of the blogosphere.
So what were these wonderous ideas I dreamed up. I will go through them.
But first a quick word about the cheesecake itself. YUM!!! I think that about covers it. I had to cook it for much longer than the recipe suggested - over an hour versus 35 minutes. But it set up beautifully. And it was incredibly creamy and delicious.
I scooped out about half the cheesecake into balls and cut the rest into squares. So onto my big ideas.
Okay not exactly ground breaking, but who cares. They are so pretty.
Milk Chocolate and Musk
These pops are dusted with ground muskettes. I love musk lollies. I always have a packet on hand. I think it all went together really well.
White Chocolate and Lavender
I was a bit worried that white chocolate and cheesecake would be too rich. But it turned out well. The lavender added a lovely touch. I've added a bit too much here, but they just looked so pretty. You really only need a few buds to add a lovely touch of flavour.
Dark Chocolate Rum and Raisin
These were one of my favourites. I soaked some sultanas in rum overnight. Then I roughly chopped them and pressed them into the cheesecake pops. I then froze the pops and dipped them into the chocolate. Yum.
I made these to use up the chocolate leftovers from the pops above. But they were good in their own right.
I was really keen to experiment with jellies. Unfortunately I couldn't find any fresh passionfruit. Usually I can get large nets for only a few dollars at the markets. But it seemed to be an off week. So I used passionfruit syrup instead.
I heated 300ml in a double boiler and then added some sugar to taste. I stirred in six gelatine leaves until dissolved. Once the jelly had cooled I quickly dipped some frozen pops and returned them to the freezer. This created a thin initial layer of jelly. I then left the jelly until it was very thick and just beginning to set. I then dipped the frozen pops again. The best approach is to twirl the pops horizontally and all around after dipping to force the jelly to roll around the pop. It is then able to set around the pop rather than just running off.
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate
I coated the pops in a raspberry jelly using the same method as for the passionfruit pops. This time I used a light sugar syrup, added some pureed raspberries which had been sieved to remove the seeds. At the very end I crumbled in some whole raspberries. I returned the jellied pops to the freezer and then dipped them in dark chocolate.
These were my other favourites.
Rose and Pistachio
Again I used the same method to coat the pops in jelly. This time I used a light sugar syrup flavoured with rose water. I dipped them in milk chocolate and sprinkled them with pistachio.
These were really good, but the rose flavour needed to be a bit stronger. It has to be quite intense to cut through the chocolate, pistachio and cheesecake.
Mango and Coconut
I abandoned the whole chocolate dipping thing. Instead, I made up a crumb base and used that to coat the pops. I crushed some Nice biscuits and mixed them with some melted butter. I toasted them in the oven until they were golden and crisp. I mixed up the cooled crumbs with some dessicated coconut.
I didn't freeze these pops at all. I simply rolled them in the crumb mix and then topped them with some sliced mango.
These were absolutely delicious. The crisp crumbs and coconut contrasted beautifully with the sweet mango and creamy cheesecake. Yum!!!
Pear and Hazelnut
I made these the same way as the mango coconut. Instead of coconut I added some ground hazelnuts to the crumb base. I topped the pops with some sliced pear. Again delicious.
Strawberry and Chocolate
Again, this is the same method as above. This time mixed some grated dark chocolate into the crumb mixture. I topped it off with strawberries. These were my other other favourites. They were really really seriously good.
Jelly and Crumble
I had quite a few pops, crumb mix and jelly left over. So I put them all together. These were good too.
Overall, I rate these as a huge success. I will be making them again. I'm not sure if I would go for the dipped chocolate, as good as it was. I much prefer the crumb mix. I can see a whole platter with different combinations of nuts, fruit, jellies and grated chocolates.
Thanks to this month's hosts, Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell , for a great challenge. The recipe will be available on their blogs sometime soon. To see a million more beautiful pops visit my fellow Daring Bakers through the Blogroll.