Oshawott Cheesecakes

Back when Pokemon Black and White came out, I was immediately a fan of Oshawott. Based on sea otters(which are already an adorable species of animal), Oshawott are these blue and white sea otters that kind of look like snowmen, and are just adorable. They have these large round noses and hold a scallop-like item that they call a scalchop(a play on the word scallop since otters eat lots of sea scallops), which they use as a weapon and as a shield. While I was thinking of fun ways to recreate more Pokemon, I remembered a dessert I made back in college, which was a blue spirulina kulfi, that I set in a canele mold. Canele are these French pastries that kind of look like these rigid tower-type things. Hard to describe to be honest, but the shape of a canele actually works wonderfully here in being used for Oshawott’s body. So I figured, why not use some silicone canele molds to shape something into resembling an Oshawott? And that’s how this recipe came about!

For the components, we have a dark blue sea salt shortbread as the base, a sea salt-vanilla cheesecake, which acts like Oshawott’s body, a vanilla whip cream that is Oshawott’s head, a dark blue sea salt whipped cream that is being piped on as Oshawott’s ears, and a small piece of blonde chocolate that is molded to resemble Oshawott’s scalchop. I used blue spirulina and purple carrot powders to dye my recipe naturally, since I personally am not a fan of eating a dish that stains my mouth, but don’t fret it you do not have those ingredients. You can always use butterfly pea powder, or even just blue and purple gel food colorings worst comes to worst! Temperature is definitely key in this dessert, making sure that the cheesecake is fully frozen before attempting to mold would guarantee that the canele shape is there, and that itself is important, as the little indent on top of the canele is what holds up the Oshawott’s heads nicely.

The main flavors of this cheesecake are vanilla and sea salt, while the blonde chocolate echoes the butteriness of the shortbread, while also adding some fun caramel notes to play off of the sea salt. For the nose, I went with a single chocolate pearl sprinkle, while the eyes were drawn onto Oshawott’s head using activated charcoal and vanilla extract to form an edible paint. If you do not want to use those ingredients either, powdered black food dye and vanilla work here, as well as gel black food dye and clear vanilla extract as well! In either case, you need to use an alcohol-based extract, as it will evaporate off, leaving the coloring behind in whatever shape you painted it on as, which really is the idea behind using it. This is one of those desserts where you could technically flavor it however you want, and that is what I adore about it! The most important thing when making this recipe is just to have fun with it. Even if you do not own canele molds, you can still make a fun no-bake cheesecake and decorate it to look like an oceanic cheesecake, “inspired” by the aesthetic of an Oshawott! Let your creativity have some fun here!

For the sea salt shortbread:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp blue spirulina powder(can sub with 1 dot blue gel food coloring)
1 tsp purple carrot powder(can sub with 1 dot purple gel food coloring)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, powders, and butter together to form a crumbly dough. Mix into that the cold water and vanilla to form your cookie dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes then roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8th-inch thickness. Place between two lined sheet trays and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Then remove the top sheet tray and continue to bake for another 12 minutes at 325 degrees F. While the cookie is still warm, punch out 2-inch disks.

For the sea salt-vanilla cheesecake:
1 tbsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
8oz cream cheese
1 tsp blue spirulina powder(can sub with 1 dot blue gel food coloring)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

In a pot, heat up the gelatin with sugar and water until they form a thick syrup. In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese with blue spirulina until soft. Whisk the gelatin syrup into the cream cheese until combined. In another bowl, whisk together heavy cream to stiff peaks with vanilla and sea salt. Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture to combine. Pour into silicone canele molds and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours, before attempting to unmold.

For the chantilly cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp xanthan gum*

In a bowl, whisk everything together until they form stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until time to assemble your Oshawotts.

For the dark blue cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp blue spirulina powder(can sub with 1 dot blue gel food coloring)
1/4 tsp purple carrot powder(can sub with 1 dot purple gel food coloring)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of xanthan gum*

Whip everything together to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a small(think pinkie nail-sized) piping tip and keep refrigerated.

For initial assembly:
Place the cheesecakes on top of the shortbreads. Using either a purple-handled ice cream scoop or a piping bag with a super large round tip, pipe on top of your cheesecakes the white chantilly cream to form Oshawott’s “head”. Then transfer to the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Then pipe on the ears using your dark blue cream onto the scooped ball of cream that is being used for the Oshawott’s “head”. Use any residual dark blue cream for the Oshawott’s feet and tails.

To garnish:
Blonde chocolate
1g activated charcoal powder(can sub with 1 dot black gel food coloring)
1g vanilla extract
Chocolate pearl sprinkles

Over a double boiler, melt down some blonde chocolate(you can sub with butterscotch chips if that’s easier to procure!). Pour into silicone shell molds and freeze until set. Place the shells in front of the cheesecakes and pipe the chantilly around it to act like “arms”. In a bowl, mix charcoal and vanilla to form an edible paint. Dot on the eyes and freckles for Oshawott’s face using a chopstick or skewer, and draw on the mouth as well. Use a singular chocolate pearl sprinkle for its nose.

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