Sunday, 27 April 2008

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Pops

I'd like to start this post with an apology (not to hijack this month's Daring Bakers task). It's been a bit of a topsy-turvey month for different personal and family reasons, and although everything should be fine in the long run it has left me quite tired and not feeling inspired to cook or blog beyond the basic. The biggest sign of this is that my Google Reader account (which I've been avoiding for ages, letting the posts pile up) today reports 855 posts from you, fellow bloggers, which I haven't been keeping up with. So apologies everyone for not visiting and commenting on your efforts, and I hope to get back on the game soon.

Evidence of this tired/distractedness is this month's DB Cheesecake Pop making. One weekend after the other, I have been too busy or not had the energy to tackle it. Yesterday was to be the day, but I wound up feeling too poor to face it. This morning, then, after some lazy newspaper reading and more feeling poorly, I rallied Mr A&N to come to the kitchen with me to be my hands while I read the recipe out to him and barked instructions at him like a drill seargent.

As Mr A&N took his time to precisely measure out his ingredients, debating the merits of imperial vs metric measurements, I had a glance at the posting date for this recipe. The date? Today. Oh crap.

With 24 hours for the pops to do their firming up, I won't get to taste them by the post date, but they'll at least be finished. Hopefully. So now for a bit of race-against-the-clock semi-live blogging:

14.35 (GMT): I read out the ingredients for Mr A&N and he begins setting his mis en place. He takes the packets of cream cheese from the fridge, and weighs them on the scales. He keeps the cream cheese in their plastic containers while weighing them, and guesses at the weight of the container vs. cheese and dumps the amount he sees fit into the mixing bowl. I request he weighs it all again now that it's just cheese and mixing bowl, but he declines. He offers for me to take over the task if I disagree with his methods. I decline. We are at a weighing impasse (a weighty matter, perhaps, would have been a better phrase. Ah well - it's written, now).

15.02 : Mixing begins with the hand blender. This is Mr A&N's first time with a hand blender. He's both fascinated and repulsed at using machinery to carry out a man's (woman's) job, but carries on with a studious, furrowed brow.

15.18 : Mixing is finished, and the water is boiling in order for the hot water bath to be set. Mr A&N pours the cheesecake into the tin (the whole time questioning the lack of crust, and wondering why what he's doing is considered 'daring') and takes great care to smooth the top of the cake evenly.


15.23 : The cake goes into the oven. I set the timer for 45 minutes just in case this cake wants to bake for the prescribed time.

16.08 : It doesn't. I stick it in for another 11 minutes.

16.19 : Nope. Another 11 minutes.

16.30 : Cake is done (ish). I drain the water bath and wip
e the tin off, and cover the top in plastic wrap. The cake should now take 3 hours to chill in the fridge (minimum). I speed the process by sticking it in the freezer for an hour and a half.

18.00 : Cake comes out of the freezer. It's very firm and chilled, so I decide to risk it. I start sloppily gouging out dough balls. The cake isn't quite firm enough and the balls are refusing to come together, never mind the idea of shaping them. They're a proper rag-tag group of misfits. But as this cheesecake A
-Team is all I have, I get out my pack of 225 flouroscent flexible straws and cut 8 of them in half to insert into my misfit balls. I don't know what I'll do with the other 217 straws.

18.09 : I try to find space in the freezer for my tray of misfits. The deepest draw is the meat draw so I try shoving them in with assorted lamb parts and a three-pack of mackerel. There's one casualty as I try to get the tray in, and Mr A&N averts further disaster by removing the drawer, gently laying the baking tray on top, and getting the drawer back in without cussing or shoving. I eat the casualty and find it tastes very good. I quickly go back to feeling sick a
s Mr A&N cooks us dinner.

19.13 : After a dinner which I didn't eat, I test the pops for frozen-ness. They're still fairly squidgy so it will be more time yet. The day light is fading and with it my chance to get clear pictures of the finished pops. Which might not be a bad thing, given how the are looking.

20.02 : I try the pops again. They could be harder. I couldn't wait. Out come the dried coconut, cherries, and almonds, as does the chocolate for melting. Coating the pops is a bit of a messy affair, and it doesn't do anything to improve their looks.

20.20 : The pops are coated and need to be photographed
.

20.28 : Feet up on the sofa time.

Thanks to Elle from Feeding my Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell for setting the challenge; you can find a posting of the recipe on Deborah's site. I look forward to tasting the finished product tomorrow.

23 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, it takes way longer to bake than the recipe says!
Yes, the chocolate and any thing you put on the chocolate is MESSY!
Now you can look forward to Yes they are good to eat.
Sorry it's been that kind of month. Maybe it's about to change and you get a bit of an ease! ;))
Looks good enough to yum yum on!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Those look so good. I wish I had of used straws. The skewers I used kept popping out!

maybelles mom said...

Ah, this was a messy recipe huh. but good job.

Jenny said...

Now that is what I call up to the minute posting.
Hope things get better soon - and you take care!

glamah16 said...

Glad you made it and turned out well. We all need breaks to focus on other things from time to time.

Gigi said...

Great job! And I agree chocolate is messy.

Pixie said...

Hiya, I know I've just started reading your blog and all but just hope you're well and don't worry about all those entries piling up. Look after yourself first!

Well done for still carrying on with the challenge- you did great in the end!

L Vanel said...

They look delicious. I'm sorry that life's been topsy turvey lately, but glad to hear that everything should be fine in the long run.

Baking Soda said...

Smiling throughout your post, but lol reading the part of the freezer drawer, I did the same!
They look great, combined efforts did a marvellous job!
Take care!

Cynthia said...

Hey Girl, let the reader pile up, life is more important.

Deborah said...

I hope you enjoyed eating them - I know that was my favorite part! Your pops look wonderful - I'm glad you found the time to do them!

Dolores said...

Ah... I'm familiar with your kitchen banter with Mr. A&N... my cohort in the kitchen also subscribes to the "if you can do better, be my guest" theory when faced with my attempts at process improvement.

Looks like you got these done under the wire, and they look great!

jasmine said...

Oh sweetie...

You did very well and the pops look great! BTW, I'm in agreement with Mr. A&N wrt to the gadget...I think that every time I use mine...

j

Lunch Buckets said...

There's only one sensible thing to do with all the leftover straws. Drink. A lot!

Kevin said...

Nice pops! What a marathon! I took three days to make mine with all of the chilling and freezing.

gillie said...

Well they look to me as if they were well worth the effort. I could do with one right now!

Helen said...

I had the same problems in that a) I left it to the last minute! and b) my cheesecake wasn't firm enough, even though I did have time to refrigerate for 24 hours. Mine looked like blobs! I think yours look really good though, especially considering they were a rush job! Well done.

Jeanne said...

Did anybody have a good time with these?! The only reports I've read were from people who didn't want to eat them, or people who struggled with making them! Kudos to you for persevering through sickness/health, better/worse, richer/poorer etc etc to get them done. And I hope you find a use for all those straws...!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Well done! And I'm thinking semi-live blogging might just catch on...

gillie said...

I've tagged you for a book meme, I do hope you want to play :)

http://skybluepink.typepad.com/skybluepink/2008/05/travelling-book.html

White On Rice Couple said...

These look great! You tackled it sooo well! Now we're inspired to join in on this event!

Lis said...

Aww sweetie.. I hope you are feeling better and that your month is improving!

I love how you managed to force one down and them quickly go back to feeling sick again.. well done, my friend. ;)

Hugs!
xoxoxox

Matin said...

Look great. Will try it soon:-)
X M