Creamcheese pops - My first Daring Bakers Challenge

My first Daring Bakers challenge – I am heaving a huge sigh of relief even as I am typing the text. Elle and Deborah were right when they said that for some it might be their first cheesecake! But what they did not mention was that for some it will also be their first making of creamcheese!! My reason for never attempting one – simple! I don’t get cream cheese in Thane!! I did not want to give that as a reason for not living upto the first challenge – so I literally started the recipe from the scratch!!!

First – I made the cream cheese by scouring the net for ages - looking for the best home made recipe. The first hurdle was that I do not use rennet as I am vegetarian. I do not generally use eggs but compromise every now and then for the children and my husband as they eat eggs, so I did not mind that part.

How I made cream cheese:

I boiled 1 ½ litres of whole milk. I curdled it with 2 cups of fresh curd. Hung the mixture for about 10 mts. to collect the whey. Added a little cream to the residue – the cheese – and beat at high for a minute. When I did not get the desired texture I kneaded it with my fingertips till it was smooth (as for rasgulla or sandesh). I measured and found that I had 3 cups of cream cheese, if this is cream cheese! To my relief I read that cheese cake could be made with paneer also, so I was on a parallel tract if not right!

The cheese cake:

I reduced all other ingredients proportionately. Made a mistake with the vanilla extract – it was a tad more than necessary. I made the cake on my gas the ancient way, as my oven is quite tiny
and it could not take the outer pan.

I kept a regulated temperature using the following arrangement – A heavy tawa or griddle, over that the water bath and the cake! I had to make an approximation about the temperature (I realize I require a few more gadgets if I am to remain a DB!). My cue was the amount of bubbles in the water bath. I just tried to maintain that! I read all about the cares to be taken while preparing a cheese cake on America cooks on the net. It took me about 1 and ¼ hrs. to get a somewhat set cake. The middle was jiggling a little so I removed the cake pan from the water bath and baked it in my oven at the lowest temperature for about 20 minutes. Removed, allowed it to cool completely and transferred it to the fridge for the overnight cooling.

The assemblage:

Again I could not find popsicle sticks – the cylindrical ones. All I found were flat sticks like the ones we use for stick ice creams. I used halved wooden microwave skewers instead and that was just fine. Last night, I removed the cake and felt that the cake had steamed more than necessary! It did not have that soft and moist texture like the cheesecakes I have eaten at bakeries. Anyways I scooped some – had to roll it into balls with my palms and set aside. I cut some into clovers and some into diamonds using cookie cutters – all nearly 2 oz.! I set them again in the fridge for one hour. I thought I had some ribbons for the decoration but couldn’t find any of suitable width so I had to make do with the peppermint balls and almonds I had. I melted the chocolate. Readied some peppermint powder, some almond and raisins powder, and some walnut powder. Removed each popsicle, dipped it half way through into the chocolate dip, and then coated it with one of the powders and set it aside on a greased tray. Set them again in the fridge after taking pictures. This morning I was up earlier than usual, so though it’s a week day I have ample time to take more pics. I tasted a teeny weeny bit but found it had too many eggs for my taste!

I might try the recipe again but not too soon – at least, not until I find readymade ‘creamcheese’!! Till then I will be content that I did not make excuses for the first DB challenge.

For some reason…… probably, because they did not shape so well – the pops reminded me of errant school children – each having his own mind. The two clovers and the one sphere behind them were the goody-goody students, and the rest – well they were all like children who enjoy making the teacher sweat!!

My official guinea pigs’ and their verdict:
After all the above texting, I had to stop to get on with the routine chores. I told my kids about how the pops were behaving like naughty students and that there were only three good ones in my batch! It must have sounded nice because in no time the naughty ones (The ones which were misshapen, or broken) were getting devoured – both my children identified better with naughty ones, I guess! They also carried them to school for short break. Two naughties and one good student!!! My children loved the look, the texture and the description.

Thumbs up for this one, but, not another one till I find ready made cheese cream!!In case I repeat, is it alright to use curd cheese instead of milk cheese? Please gimme your suggestions.

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