Apr 25, 2013

Pushing Allowed

Move over cupcakes, move over cake pops...the newest culinary treat to take the world by storm is Push-up Pops.
What are push-up pops? They're single-serving dessert molds that can be filled with anything from ice cream to pudding, and you can hold and eat them almost like a Popsicle. Made of a plastic cylinder with a push plate inside, a cover and a stick to hold the pop, these see-through containers will showcase any layered treat. You can decorate them to fit the theme of any party, whether its cream tinted to match your tablecloth or pastel-colored bows and ribbons for a birthday. Simply combine you favorite cakes, crunches and creams in alternating layers for a dessert that’s sure to impress!
Push-up pops are great because the versatile container allows you to match your food to your d├ęcor and you can customize the pop containers with a bit of creativity.  At first they were only available in a standard round cylinder, but of course, things in the kitchen just keep getting more exciting. We’ve now gotten them in a flower-shaped style—just in time for Shavuos.
If you are serving them at a baby Kiddush you can tack a pink or blue bow on the cover or tie a ribbon around the middle. You can also print colored paper bands to wrap around the pops. At a graduation party you can top the containers with tiny graduation caps—complete with hanging tassels. You can purchase small fabric flowers and glue them to the top cover to be served at your Shavuos kiddush. The possibilities are endless!

The best part of cake pops is that you can create delicious and beautiful treats with the most basic of recipes. Bake your go-to basic chocolate or vanilla one-bowl cake in a sheet pan. Whip up a thawed whipped topping and add flavored extract or liquor and food color. Cut circles of cake using the pop’s tube. Layer cake circles, piped cream and chopped nuts or other brittle in the pop. Alternately, you can leave out the cake and use jello or mousse with your favorite chopped candy.

Have fun--you are limited on by your imagination!

If you are looking for inspiration for your push-up pops start with this milchig recipe that will wow your family this Shavuos.

for the mousse:

1 1/4 cups milk, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ounces nougat powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)
for assembly:
8 whole graham crackers
nut crunch

prepare the mousse:
Put 1/4 cup of milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle gelatin over milk and let stand 5 minutes. Place the measuring cup in a small pot with enough water to come halfway up the side of the pot. Heat the water and stir the gelatin mixture for 2-3 minutes until the gelatin is dissolved and clear. turn off the heat; leave the cup in the warm water until needed.
 Place the chopped white chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the remaining milk in a small saucepan. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. stir in the butter. Whisk in the gelatin mixture. Divide mixture in half. Whisk nougat powder into one half of the chocolate mixture. Allow each half to cool completely.
In a clean bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form--do not overbeat. Using a large spatula, fold half the whipped cream into each half of the white chocolate mixture. The consistency will be soft. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of each bowl of mousse and refrigerate 30 minutes.
assemble the pops:
Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until slightly crushed. Place the nougat mousse and the white chocolate mousse into 2 piping bags, each  fitted with a large star tip.
Assemble the pops.  Place a heaping tablespoon of crackers in the bottom of the pop. Pipe nougat mousse to fill the pop halfway. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon nut crunch. Pipe white chocolate mousse to fill the pop and top with more nut crunch. Stand pops in a glass, a bowl of sugar or small candy. Pops may be prepared in advance and frozen but the mousse will lose texture.

For the cake:
4 ounces margarine, at room temperature (one stick)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup boiling water
For the chocolate cream:
1 pound chocolate Bavarian cream or custard
8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
For the trifle:
6 bars chocolate covered toffee (Viennese crunch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
Beat together margarine and sugar.  Add eggs and continue beating until combined.  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Alternating with water, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in three additions.  Stir together cocoa and boiling water until cocoa is completely dissolved and no lumps remain.  Add to the batter.  Pour batter into lined pan.  Tap the pan on the counter to be sure the batter is evenly spread. Bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool.
Beat 8 ounces whipped topping and fold into chocolate custard.  Place in a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Break chocolate-covered toffee bars into small pieces. 
Cut 30 cake circles from the sheet cake, using one of the pops as your cutter.  Assemble the pops.
Place a circle in the pop, pushing it all the way to the bottom. Pipe about 1 tablespoon cream into the pop. Push in another cake circle. Pipe some more cream. Top with one more circle and pipe a swirl of cream. Sprinkle generously with the chopped candy. Repeat until all the pops are filled. Serve within 24 hours or freeze.

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