Rosewater & Pistachio Cheesecake Pops

This is my first challenge as a member of The Daring Bakers. You may have noticed that I don’t feature many sweet recipes on this blog which is because, to be honest, I’m not really a dessert kind of person. I’m the one who always orders the cheese. As a consequence of my savoury-biased taste buds, I don’t have much experience with baking. I like an all or nothing approach to things so I signed up to be a Daring Baker. What’s the point in starting with a Victoria sponge? I like a challenge.

The deal clincher for me was seeing the recipe for Julia Child’s French Loaf, I really wanted to make that recipe! This month however, it was a cheesecake. Well, a cheesecake to start off with but soon demolished to make these cheesecake ‘pops’. We were allowed certain adaptations including the use of a colourless flavouring. I’ve been meaning to use the rosewater I have languishing in my cupboard and decided to go with a Middle Eastern theme by adding a pistachio crust on the outside. When I first saw the recipe called for vegetable shortening melted into the chocolate I found the idea a bit gross. When it melts though, you can’t taste it and it does (as promised!) help to give the chocolate a nice crack when you bite into it.

A requirement of the challenge was that we must use lollipop sticks. Apart from the fact that I left it too late to order online, I wanted to find an an alternative – something edible. These chocolate curls worked perfectly (no, I didn’t make them myself!), it’s like eating an ice cream and then eating the cone.

You can see from the finished result that I didn’t produce the most dainty of pops. The cheesecake worked well and didn’t sink like a baked cheesecake normally would (recipe is a keeper) but it didn’t seem to set properly, even after 24 hours in the fridge. I would blame the fridge or the recipe but I’m sure it’s down to something I either did or didn’t do. As a result, the pops are more like blobs really even though I bought a melon baller (none sold since 1975!) especially for the purpose. As I’m writing this, I’ve just thought of the best idea for using that melon baller I could ever wish for. I’ll get back to you on that one.

So, what were they like? Well, they were deliciously naughty actually. The rosewater and pistachio combination is really great in a cheesecake, the rosewater adding a floral depth that works well with a hint of vanilla. I originally wanted to make two flavours, experimenting with orange blossom water and crystallised rose petals too but I ran out of time so I’m saving that one for another post. When I originally read the recipe, I thought it was a bit silly. There is something special though, about having a dainty (or in my case – rugged) little morsel of sin to nibble on, it somehow seems more decadent than eating a whole slice.

I found these are even better if you pop them back in the freezer for half an hour or so before you want to eat them. They are like the best choc-ices in the world afterwards!

Cheesecake Pops (Adapted 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
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rosewater
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Chocolate curls, to use as lollipop sticks
Crushed pistachios, for coating

-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 spring form pan. Helen: I used a spring form pan but just lined it really well with foil – no problems), 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.
-At this point I put a plate in the freezer to help the newly dipped pops along a bit. I thought about putting the chocolate curls in there too but forgot and it was fine. You need to be working fairly fast anyway.
-Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. Now roll the pops in the crushed pistachios. Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.
-Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Edit: Elle at Feeding my Enthusiasms and Deborah at Taste and Tell were this month’s Daring Bakers hosts.

Category: Blogging Events, Daring Bakers, Desserts 43 comments »

43 Responses to “Rosewater & Pistachio Cheesecake Pops”

  1. Cakelaw

    Rosewater and pistachio flavour sounds very tasty! I also like the idea of edible “sticks”.

  2. Pixie

    Well done with your first challenge-great idea on the sticks too! :)

  3. jane

    Beautiful! What a lovely grown-up twist on the recipe.

  4. Julia

    Helen what a great take on them! My cheesecake is in the fridge and I’m making my pops today!

  5. Peter G

    Mmmm..rosewater is so magical. I too enjoy its floral tones and its used quite a bit in Greek cooking. I love how you’ve applied it with the pistachios to the DB challenge.

  6. Judy

    Oh your cheesecake pops look so good. I love the idea of rose water. Very creative!

  7. Deborah

    Great job on your first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  8. Fearless Kitchen

    This looks fantastic. I’ve never been a big cheesecake fan, but the combination of rosewater and pistachio makes everything good. The idea of the edible lollipop sticks was fantastic and the next time I am involved with anything resembling a shower or birthday party I will shamelessly borrow your idea!

  9. kate

    i like that you can eat it all the way. i would’ve feared the curls breaking down while trying to fix the cheesecake on top , but these look just prefect.

  10. Helen

    Cakelaw – Thank you!
    Pixie – Thanks, I’m really happy that I joined the group.
    Jane – Thank you for calling me grown up, I don’t hear that very often!
    Julia – Good luck with the pops, I’m looking forward to seeing your version.
    Peter G – You know I love your food! I’m going to search your blog for those rosewater recipes. I have a bottle of rosewater to use.
    Judy – Thank you.
    Deborah – Thanks for the welcome, I’m glad to be a member.
    Fearless Kitchen – Borrow away!
    Kate – I also feared that might happen but I got away with it. They held together really well.

  11. Kim

    They turned out just wonderful. Love the pistachio too. Mine cake didn’t set like I would have liked and I had a dickens of a time making balls. Fun project though.

  12. farida

    Helen, hi! I was randomly clicking on teh daring bakers to see their pops:)) and I came to see yours:)

    Your pops look cute! What a great idea to use pistachios! I should try it next time!!

    I love your blog and I am going to subscribe to it to read more from you. Cheers from my kitchen!

  13. Paula

    love your flavor combo. one of the most creative I’ve seen. Love the chocolate curls for the sticks. so cute!

  14. We Are Never Full

    Wow, Helen… impressive! I’m the same as you, I prefer savory over sweet. And I really am not good at baking anything. I even forgot baking soda in a recipe and kept cooking the crap out of the ‘cake that never rose’. It was horrendous! I’m really not good. but YOU on the other hand just created something beautiful and tasty-looking. yum.

  15. Chef Erik

    Wow! Those look outstanding. I would have a hard time not eating all those pops. Great job on the pics too!

  16. grace

    i’d take one of your cheesecake “blobs” over a slice of plain ol’ ny cheesecake any day! i mean, come on–rosewater (a completely underutilized flavor), chocolate, AND pistachios? i’d be in heaven.

  17. Christine

    Awesome job on your cheesecake pops! I love the combination and the sticks that you used. Very creative!

  18. David Hall

    Hi Helen

    Very impressive! Now I know why I didn’t join the Daring Bakers – too complicated for me!


  19. Holler

    Amazing Helen! They look scrumptious :)

  20. Jerry

    How fancy are you?! Rosewater, and chocolate sticks! WOW! Congrats on your first challenge! Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  21. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    What a great idea to use rosewater and pistachios together. I love that! Great job on your first challenge!

  22. JennyBakes

    I love the chocolate curl idea, but am amazed they were strong enough to hold up the cheesecake ball (maybe mine were the only ones that seemed to be so heavy!). I like the other flavor idea you had too, and hope you get a chance to try it!

  23. Susan

    The edible sticks and flavor combination are very creative! Looking forward to seeing what you’re going to do with that melon baller. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  24. dana mccauley

    Super idea to have edible sticks – you are the greenest Daring Baker yet!

    How did you get the chocolate to curl but stil be strong enough to be used to skewer the cheesecake and hold it up?

    For a non-dessert person that is some pretty fancy chocolate usage. Well done!

  25. Barbara

    Fabulous idea for the sticks. Probably the most creative pops I’ve seen so far.

  26. Kevin

    Your pops look great! Nice sticks. The slightly salt pistachios went really well on the sweet chocolate and cheesecake.

  27. Ivonne

    Those are incredible!

  28. Nina

    If I had to pick a winner, it would be you……Love your pops…..

  29. pixie o

    i am so intrigued by the rosewater pistachio combination! awesome! And the edible sticks are great as well. Maybe if I make it again, I’ll use chocolate covered pretzel sticks!

  30. Nice deals

    Mouth watering recipe, thats what I categorized, It looks delicious , and I love the pretzel .

  31. JacqueOH

    I love the look of the pistachios against the chocolate. Nice work!

  32. Helen

    Kim – I had exactly the same problem, that is whay they look like blobs!
    Farida – Cheers to you too! I’m really glad you liked the blog.
    Paula, thanks!
    We Are Never Full – You are very kind! That is pretty funny forgetting to put baking soda in. I once forgot to put sugar in biscuits, they were disgusting!
    Chef Erik – We did eat all of them, no problem.
    Grace & Christine – Thank you.
    David – I know that you would be able to pull them off!
    Holler, jerry, Susan – Thanks!
    Jenny – I think I was lucky because the cake didn’t really set very well even after I chilled it. I think that’s why the sticks were ok.
    Susan- Thanks for the welcome!
    Dana – I didn’t make the choc curls myself!
    Barbara, Kevin, Ivonne, Nina – Thank you.
    Pixie – Loving the pretzel stick idea.
    Nice deals – You dont sound like a foodie!
    Jacque – Thanks, I’m quite proud of them!

  33. Texana

    Love the chocolate curl “sticks”. Brilliant!

  34. marion-il en faut peu pour ...

    they’re terrific !!!!!! your popsickles are … whaow !!!!!
    great ideas, and great job !

  35. renato gerena
    nice pic, looks good , u can also do a peanut & jelly cheesescake pop !

  36. reggie

    “it’s like eating an ice cream and then eating the cone.” that’s awesome haha!

  37. Y

    How clever, using chocolate as sticks :) I couldn’t find any lollipop sticks either and actually ended up using fondue forks.

  38. Jeanne

    You are one of the first bloggers I have read who enjoyed this challenge – quite a few others just weren’t keen on the pops. But then, your seasonings were inspired! Re. the cheesecake setting issue, I also had problems with a cheesecake I baked last summer – despite spending longer that specified in the oven, it flatly refused to set properly in the middle. Still tasted OK though :)

  39. graci

    I tried the recipe and it didn’t taste that good. no offense.

  40. My Sweet & Saucy

    Love these! The presentation is great!

  41. Picnic Dessert Ideas

    I will be coming back here again and again, and I will tell my friends as well. This is a great site. See yer! Jodie May

  42. Holly Martin

    Cheesecakes are the best and yummiest cakes that you can eat..;”

  43. Tilly Holmes

    i just leave munching and eating cheesecakes, they are tasty and yummy.“

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