Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lime Pop Rocks Cheesecake

They said it couldn't be done. "Pop Rocks will not survive within a recipe," they said. "They will fizzle out and all you will be left with is melted Red Dye #3."

They were wrong!

This is a recipe I created based on the No-Bake Lime Cheesecake recipe from tasteofhome.com, but with a popping twist: there are Pop Rocks in the crust, embedded in the cheesecake layer, and sprinkled on top for a final product that is both a light and delicious cheesecake, but also a truly unique dessert that both kids and adults can appreciate. The sour lime flavour keeps it from being unbearably sweet, and, surprisingly enough, the Pop Rocks survive the process quite well, with lots of popping in every bite.

Lime Pop Rocks Cheesecake

Note: This recipe works with practically any two kinds of Pop Rocks. I recommend choosing two flavours that are different colours for the contrast, and the only flavour I wouldn't suggest using is the bubblegum. You will need three packages of each of two flavours (six packages total) to make the finished cheesecake. Using only one flavour, possibly the green-coloured sour apple flavour, might be more appropriate for a more formal occasion and a more subtle presentation, but I used blue berry and red tropical punch flavours and it was very festive-looking when finished.

Crust:
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
4 1/2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 pouches of Pop Rocks, one of each flavour

Filling:
2 envelopes unflavoured gelatine
1 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
Green food colouring (optional)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 pouches of Pop Rocks, two of each flavour

  1. In a bowl, mix together Oreo crumbs with melted butter and the 2 tbsp sugar. Wait for the butter to cool down and then combine the 2 packages of Pop Rocks gently into the crushed mixture.
  2. Immediately press into the bottom of a well-greased 8 or 9" spring-form pan. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until needed.
  3. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatine over lime juice and cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Stir in the sugar and eggs. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until mixture reaches 160°, then remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in gelatine mixture until combined. Add several drops green food colouring, if desired, and blend (without the food colouring, the eggs make the cheesecake very yellow). Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until partially set, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into lime mixture and stir to mix evenly. Spoon about half the filling into the crust. Evenly sprinkle 2 packages of the Pop Rocks (one of each flavour) over the filling. Spoon in the remaining filling and cover. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
  6. Before serving, evenly sprinkle remaining 2 packages of Pop Rocks (one of each flavour) over the top of the cheesecake. Serve chilled and refrigerate any leftovers.

I made this as a contribution to a friend's 90s-themed party, and it was a big hit. In fact, it was so popular that I didn't get to get a picture before it disappeared! When I make it again (and I will), I'll post a picture of it here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 23

We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.
~Charles Darwin, Notebook N (1838)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Princess Peach Washcloth!

Now that we have Mario and Luigi, what comes next? They need someone worth saving, of course! And that someone is the Princess.

It's the Princess Peach Washcloth!

Pattern:

This is the same size as the Mario and Luigi versions: 44 stitches wide and 61 rows long. As with the others, I went a little unorthodox on the charting and worked the raised-stitch pattern from right to left instead of from bottom to top. The photo above was based on a first draft of the chart, which I have since slightly modified to make the face part look nicer and to fix the weird way the hair-defining lines look. If I make a second cloth, I'll post a picture of the results of the better chart.

CO 44 stitches. Knit three rows. In the next row, follow K2, P40, K2, then knit one row. The next row (row 6) will be a WS row and the first row of the pattern chart (click to enlarge):


Start and end every row with K2. For the 40 stitches in between the edge stitches, follow the chart. Blank spaces are knit stitches for RS rows and purl stitches for WS rows. Dots are purl stitches for RS rows and knit stitches for WS rows.

After the chart is finished, you should be about to start a RS row. Knit this row. For the next (WS) row, follow K2, P40, K2. Knit the next 3 rows, then BO with knit stitches.

Compared to the Mario and Luigi patterns, this one is by far the easiest to knit with the simplest pattern (it's all that hair!). It is based on the same aesthetic that I used for those two patterns and so it complements them well.

Enjoy!

(Psst! Looking for the other Mario-gang washcloth designs? There are also Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Yoshi, and Boo patterns available!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 22

"Faith" means not wanting to know what is true.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

And wanting to know what is true is what makes us truly human - intelligent, curious, sentient. So why is not being religious and not believing in a supreme being, especially in such an age of knowledge and science, treated like something unnatural? It is more natural for humans to ask questions and seek the truth than for us to accept easy answers that are clearly not good explanations for the world around us. That attitude is a denial of the extraordinary intelligence we have and a spit in the face to the natural world that caused us to be this way.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 21

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
~Albert Einstein

(Hey, why didn't anyone tell me I'd already used this one? Here's a bonus quote to make up for my ineptitude.)

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
~Albert Einstein

Monday, February 2, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 20

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
~Seneca the Younger