Now that summer is officially here, we are all about frozen treats in our house. So what better than to devote this first Friday of summer to Paletas by Fany Gerson, the delightful guide to authentic Mexican recipes for ice pops, shaved ice and aguas frescas. Let the summer begin!!
According to Fany, paletas (popsicles) and paleterias (stores where they sell said pops) are found all over Mexico, even in the tiniest of villages and come in an amazing variety of flavors and colors, mostly fruit based since it's readily available in Mexico, ranging from the standard strawberries, mango and and melon to the more exotic tamarind, prickly pear and soursop, many of them enhanced with things like chile peppers and rose petals. For my first foray into the book though, I chose to go the careful route and test out one of the most common types, but these fresh strawberry paletas are anything but common! Each lick is intensely strawberry flavored and utterly refreshing! And they're easy to make--you can even use little paper cups if you don't have a popsicle mold!
And these little "suckers" are good for you too! There's nothing in them but strawberries, sugar, water and lemon juice! Pretty reasonable for a treat! And so great to offer kids on a hot day.
All you do is macerate the strawberries in some sugar for about 30 minutes--
Then you cook the berries down for about 5 minutes so that they release all their juices, blend up the mixture and either pour it into popsicle molds or little paper cups, insert the sticks and freeze. It's so easy!
These are truly the best popsicles I have ever tasted! That fresh strawberry flavor really shines through! Can't wait to explore my more adventurous side and test out some of the more unusual offerings from Paletas--maybe Spicy Pineapple or Spiced Tomato Tequila? Looks like it's going to be a very interesting summer! Have a great weekend!!
Paletas' Strawberry Popsicles-Famous Fridays
Makes 8-10 pops
Prep Time: About 45 minutes (only 10 minutes active); Chill Time: At least 5 hours
4 cups fresh strawberries (preferably fresh picked but supermarket berries work well too), hulled and cut into halves and quarters if large
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Wooden popsicle sticks
1. In a medium bowl, mix the berries with the sugar. Let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then, so that the berries release a lot of their juices.
2. Into a small saucepan, pour the berries and the liquid. Add the water and combine over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until the berries are slightly softened. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Pour the entire mixture into a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice and blend until smooth.
4. Pour into popsicle molds, cover with the lid and insert sticks. Freeze until solid at least 5 hours. If using paper cups, fill cups and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let freeze for about 1 1/2 -2 hours, until beginning to set and then insert the sticks and continue to freeze until completely solid and frozen. To unmold, simply run hot water on the outside of the molds or cups and pops will slip right out.
5. Popsicles last at least 2 weeks well wrapped in the freezer but none of ours have ever made it that long!
Note: Recipe adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson.