I brought you some dessert!
I’m bringing dessert — in real life — to a family gathering at Sam’s house today and this is it. That’s why this Friday/Saturday post of mine didn’t even begin to squeak in under my deadline for the blog — I didn’t want to make this too early (or twice)!
Inspired and intrigued by some individual cheesecakes with malt powder and malted milk ball candy on Pinterest, I decided I wanted to play, too. Follow along as I make it up!
I picked up some original flavor Ovaltine and my favorite Easter candy: Robin’s Eggs. My Favorite!! It’s not Easter without them! My son found the most enormous bag of them, over 2.5 lbs (!!!) so I … errrr, the family definitely had enough for snacking without coming up short for decorating this cheesecake.
I did NOT want to use a traditional graham cracker crust for this, and I’d already decided to use chocolate ganache for the chocolate flavor (I use chocolate ganache any and every time I can!) So no chocolate crumb crust …
What else could I use… hmmm… something that can end up crispy, interesting, but not strong-flavored… PECAN SANDIES to the rescue!
I used much less butter and sugar than I would have for a graham cracker crust! This crust is going to be amazing. I hope. We’ll soon see, later today, and I’ll let you know! I’m not posting the recipe until we eat it.
I saw some wide-ranging proportions of malt powder to cream cheese for the filling out there in blog-recipe land, so I decided to conduct my own taste test. I whipped up one 8 oz package of cream cheese into cheesecake filling, and stirred in successively more malt powder after scooping out each mini-cheesecake for the trial.
We all decided that 2 Tbsp. per package was not quite enough to overcome the tang of the cream cheese, and then my son and husband couldn’t tell the difference between 3 Tbsp, 4+ Tbsp, and 6 Tbsp. levels.
The 6 Tbsp amount … even I had had enough after a couple sample nibbles! I went with the least amount that gave a definite malted milk ball flavor: 3 Tbsp. per package. After all, we want to be able to eat a whole slice.
Tip! Here’s a KEY IDEA for cheesecake making: for every 8 oz of cream cheese, add 1 egg and 1/4 cup sugar. After that, you can flavor and tweak to your heart’s delight, but that will always give you a good baseline!
Cracks along the edge like that, in the oven, almost disappear after cooling. It’s the ones through the center that happen later, as it finishes baking and cools, that are the horrible ones.
I may or may not have had one of those in spite of all the best practices. No one’s going to complain about the Grand Canyon filled with ganache now, are they?
I like tall desserts, don’t you? I’ve noticed people are way more impressed with tall desserts, too. So even though I KNOW we (10 people) can’t possibly eat this much cheesecake today, I used 4 pkgs of cream cheese plus the leftover test batter, for about 36 oz. of cream cheese total … in my standard 9″ springform pan.
:) A 9″ cheesecake usually calls for 3-8 oz pkgs. I’ve used as many as 5. Go for it!
Ganache… how I love chocolate and cream! The most amazing things happen when you melt chocolate with hot cream… (visualize cartoon image of Gail with stars and hearts around her head while she stares off into the distance! LOL)
I usually go for an equal number of ounces for each: chocolate and cream. We’re talking heavy cream here. It’s ganache. It is not the time to hold back.
I made a bunch more than I needed for two reasons: Sam left me with 24 oz of heavy cream after the donut escapade, and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to need/use for my Robin’s Egg Creation.
There were 10 oz cream left in the carton, so 10 oz. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate. I LOVE these pounder bars. I’ve quit buying Lindt Excellence altogether, which was my go-to chocolate for fancy chocolate stuff for years.
Heat the cream, let the chocolate take a bath for a bit, then stir until all of a sudden it transforms into silky smooth, glossy, thick Wonderful and Amazing Ganache!
Yes, you can make ganache in the food processor. Read any food magazine’s, or fancy cookbook’s instructions. It takes about half the time. But you miss the whole experience of seeing it — and smelling it — happen :)
So I’ll bet you’re wondering how I made that ganache nest, eh? I have a professional Ateco cake decorating turntable that turns smoothly like you can’t believe! I spun it up to a pretty fast rotation with one hand, and with the other I slowly squeezed ganache out of a frosting bag.
The strands of ganache broke often, giving my twigs and grasses pointy ends. And it was way fun! I also did some random layers of squiggles. I alternated using tip 4 round, and the one you make grass with — has a bunch of teeny holes? You know the one.
Then I crushed a few Robin’s Egg candies, and placed them and some whole ones in the nest. I didn’t think about how sad broken ones would look in the nest :( but soon we’ll be happily eating this Robin’s Egg cheesecake, so it balances out!
When we arrive at Sam’s, I’ll slide the cheesecake off the springform base and onto the cake stand. But to transport it, the (cleaned) ring will go back around it, and the cake stand will be packed up empty.
We will be blessed with warm sunshine here in the PNW, and with friends and family together. I hope you have a sweet and blessed Easter Sunday today, also.