Apr 27

Edible Fuji

in Daring Bakers

"Our way is not soft grass, it's a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, toward the sun." — Ruth Westheimer

When I looked over this month's Daring Bakers challenge, I though "Eh, no problem! Totally doable!" However, when I started to break down the process and think about each step, I began to realize that even this month's challenge was going to require the daring baker inside of me to rear her little head.

This month's challenge was cheesecake pops adapted from the book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. Little yummy creamy balls of cheesecake popped onto a lollipop stick and then dipped in chocolate. Easy right? Yes, but then no. This month was not a challenge for the typical reasons, such as a technique I had never tried before. This month was a challenge because of my location. Let's start from the beginning.

I always read through a recipe at least two times before I do anything else with it. The first read through is to familiarize myself with it so that the next read-through I know where it is going and can start thinking more in depth about the actual process of baking. The second read-through I pause after each step and mentally think through what that step actually entails.

With this recipe I took a longer than normal pause to think about the ingredients. I realized that purchasing the required amount of cream cheese alone would cost me over $15 US. As I read through the other things that would need to be purchased I started to think that I may want to cut this one in half. Then when I got to the actual baking instructions I realized that I had another problem. If I were to bake the size of cheesecake outlined in the recipe I would be unable to fit it into my oven. Ovens are not typical appliances in a traditional Japanese household, as baked goods are not something that the normal family would prepare at home. When you do have an oven, it is typically much smaller than its American counterparts. Everything I put into my oven must be the size of a 13×9-inch pan or smaller. Moving on to the cutting and dipping of the cheesecake I realized that everything would have to into my freezer. Ha ha ha! My freezer consists of two pullout drawers with interior space that measures at 4-inches tall, 20-inches wide, and 20-inches long. Both these drawers are packed. After looking at the ingredients and then the dilemma of oven and freezer space I decided that halving the recipe was definitely the way to go!

After purchasing the ingredients I felt even better about my decision to halve the recipe, as here are some examples of what I ended up paying for things:

– Cream cheese, 880 yen (approx. $9 US)
– Cream, 368 yen (approx. $3.75 US)
– Eggs (pkg of 6), 221 yen (approximately $3.30 US)
– Chocolate (500 grams), 498 yen (approximately $5 US)

Then I went on a hunt for lollipop sticks. I'm sure that there is a place where they can be purchased here in Tokyo, I just wasn't having any luck. After checking the stores near me I decided that I was not going to traipse all over Tokyo in search of sticks. Then I was left with the thought of doing boring little balls of cheesecake dipped in chocolate and I decided that I needed a new tangent, something to make it fun and take it out of the ordinary. But what to do? Then the thought came to me–triangles. I would make my own edible Fuji!

The baking went smoothly without any problems. I used an 8-inch pan for the cheesecake and a 13×9-inch pan for the water bath.

The shaping turned out to be the most difficult part, as the soft cheesecake was difficult to coax into a geometric shape that could be moved into a container for freezing. A bag of peas was pulled out of the freezer to make room for a Tupperware container filled with little 2 oz. cheesecake triangles. Then finally the dipping and decorating. The addition of "snow-capped peaks" didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, as I was trying out a new cake decorating product I found at my local supermarket (little squeeze tubes of white chocolate), and they were impossible to squeeze, even after warming them up!

I decided to have some fun with challenge and took some of my little Fujis to a gathering of friends and turned them into food critics by having them fill out a little evaluation form. I had them rate their Fuji experience in 5 areas on a scale of 1 to 5: 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Out of 10 critics here are the averaged results:

1. Appearance/Presentation: 4.45

2. Degree of difficulty in eating (5 being easy to eat): 4.7

3. Smell: 4.4 (several people commented that there wasn't much of a smell to base a rating on)

4. Texture: 4.3

5. Taste: 4.7

I think the critic pool may be influenced by the fact that they are hoping I keep bringing them treats to "critique". What do you think?

All in all I think the recipe was a success. I always love dipping anything in chocolate, so that was a huge plus for me! In the end I think that my little Fujis were perfectly symbolic of the uphill climb that presented itself upon embarking on this month's challenge.

If you'd like to try this recipe out for yourself, you can get it at Taste and Tell, one of the wonderful hostesses for this month's challenge.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

gleek April 27, 2008 at 1:12 pm

mmmm, those look heavenly!


Lunch Buckets April 27, 2008 at 7:53 pm

the papers! they are so cute!


Jerry April 28, 2008 at 7:16 am

Great job! Love that you read the recipe twice, cause that is often my problem. I start without knowing the steps!


Tartelette April 28, 2008 at 8:34 am

Yeah! Great job!! I used one of the pastry cutters you sent me for another batch on friday and it turned out great! You did a fabulous job given the ingredeint challenges!


Meg April 28, 2008 at 10:27 am

Those look so yummy! Makes me wish I could still eat dairy.


Jackie April 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

What a cute presentation! So creative! I wish this post came with free samples though… I am drooling here.


Barbara April 29, 2008 at 7:18 am

Very nice job! I love the paper cups you used.


Deborah April 29, 2008 at 9:24 am

I love your mini Fujis!! I think you did a great job, especially working with what you have. And what a great idea to have your friends rate them like you did!


Kiriel du Papillon April 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

A very cute take on the theme. I know what you mean about the difficulties of adapting recipes to apartment life- similar problems in Switzerland. Small freezers, expensive ingredients… Glad you took the challenge anyway!


Jenny April 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

These are cute.


princessinferno April 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Wow, good job, they look delicious!


Melanie Gray Augustin April 30, 2008 at 10:00 pm

They look soooo good! Love the little Fuji shapes ;)


mushroommeadows May 1, 2008 at 12:10 am


Oh, I like those swan boats too. :D


chefpandita October 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Amazing! See? U do have a fuji-themed food :)


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