Today’s recipe takes one of the most conventional desserts, cheesecake, and flips it on its head (literally), transforming this everyday delicacy into an unconventional childhood throwback, with some added Spanish flair. The result: a ridiculously addictive calories-be-damned dessert—Cinnamon-Manchego Cheesecake Push Pops with Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Dulce de Leche).
Cajeta – Goat’s Milk Dulce De Leche:Cinnamon-Manchego Cheesecake:
1 quart (2½ cans) of evaporated goat milk*3 cups Manchego cheese (about 1 pound), grated
1½ cups of sugar¾ cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded3 cups cream cheese (three 8-ounce packages)
¼ teaspoon of baking soda1 cup sugar
3 pinches of kosher salt1 tablespoon of cinnamon
¼ cup cornstarch
3 cinnamon graham crackers, crushed3 eggs
6-8 push pop containers**
*Available at Whole Foods
**Available at Bed Bath & Beyond as well as Amazon.com
To make the cajeta: In a large saucepan, combine the evaporated goat’s milk with the sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the baking soda and turn the heat to low. Cook uncovered and gently stir occasionally with a whisk. After an hour, remove the vanilla. Add the salt and continue to cook over low heat until the mixture reduces to about 2½-3 cups and is a dark caramel color (about 2 hours). The more the mixture thickens, the more important it is to stir with frequency to prevent your caramel from burning. Pour your cajeta into a separate bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature. While your cajeta is reducing you can work on the cheesecake.
For the cheesecake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the Manchego cheese to a food processor and blend. Slowly add the milk until the mixture is smooth. Once blended, slowly start incorporating the cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. Blend for 5-10 minutes on low.
In a separate bowl, combine your cornstarch and eggs. Using a spatula, fold in your cheese mixture. Pour your cheesecake into a non-greased 8×12 pan and bake for about one hour or until lightly golden on top, with slight jiggle in the center. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and place in the refrigerator to set for about an hour.
To make the push pops: Turn the cheesecake out into a large bowl, and using a spatula, gently fold in about 1/2 the cajeta. Using a spoon, drizzle some of the remaining cajeta into the inside of your push-up pop containers and then stuff with cheesecake mix. Before putting the pops in the freezer, dip the tips in remaining cajeta and then dredge in the graham cracker crumbs. Freeze for at least an hour before serving.