Summer holidays started for kids this week, and although mine (as baby and 3-year-old) are still on permanent holiday, there's an excitement buzzing in the air.
Seeing the kids run loose at the playground gives me the flip in my stomach I used to get every weekday in June until I was released for the school year. Sitting in classrooms with goosebumps, wearing shorts and tank tops that it was not quite warm enough to justify. Eyes glued to the big clock that slowed its ticking to a tortuously unhurried cadence as the month progressed.
When the bell finally rang on the last day, the summer seemed to yawn in front of me like a big, sweltering, lazy, never-ending stretch of time with warm, starry nights and endless possibility.
Popsicles make me feel like a kid on summer vacation. With dirty feet, a lawn sprinkler, a sunscreen glow and permission to stay up past my bedtime.
These pops, though, are decidedly grown up, with rich, creamy cheesecake, a fresh cherry compote swirl and buttery graham crumbles. I made them on a whim after having a blackberry cheesecake popsicle at the farmer's market (shout-out to Johnny's Pops!).
I just kind of threw the ingredients together, but they turned out even better than I'd even hoped. Everyone who tried them (myself included) expected them to be yummy, but then we experienced a gustatory double take. Like this:
Whoa, these are like REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
*lick lick lick lick*
So you should make them.
The cheesecake base has a bit of lemon juice to emphasize the cheesecake-y tang, and a splash of almond extract to complement the cherry compote. Don't leave either of these out, they're the magical secret ingredients.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 2 cups fresh pitted cherries, packed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup full-fat greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
Craham cracker "crust"
- 3 tbsp crushed graham crackers
- 1 tsp melted butter
Stir cherries and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until cherries release their juices, reducing heat when they come to a rapid simmer. Maintain a low simmer until cherries are soft and juices start to thicken, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. (Which you can do quickly by scraping the compote into a freezer bag and submerging in an ice bath.)
With an electric mixer (or a strong arm), whisk together cheesecake base ingredients until smooth and fluffy.
In a separate small bowl, stir butter into graham crumbs until it resembles wet sand.
Alternate spoonfuls of cheesecake base and cherry compote into popsicle moulds until about 3/4 full. Top with graham crumble and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until completely solid, at least 4 hours. To release popsicles easily from moulds, run them under hot water until they come out with a gentle tug.