Anyone who knows me well, knows that trendy is something I just can't quite pull off. No matter what, I'm always a couple of steps behind staying on top of what's in and hip. That goes for fashion, books, tech devices--even TV shows--Heck, I just finished watching The Sopranos, a series that wrapped in 2007! It even applies to food. Though the pairing of herbs, spices and vinegars is not really new when it comes to desserts, particularly frozen treats, unsurprisingly, I'm only just now jumping on the hipster ice cream bandwagon, but that's not the case for Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell and Joel Horowitz, the very "in" force behind People's Pops and my Famous Fridays honorees of the week. Today I'm featuring their very "cool" (double meaning intended!) strawberry and balsamic vinegar popsicles and all at once Unwritten Recipes has suddenly found a spot at the popular kids' table!!
If, like me, you've never heard of People's Pops, it's both a very successful NYC popsicle business and a cookbook that features out-of-the-box flavors like Raspberry Basil, Blackberry and Lemon Verbena, Apricot Orange Blossom, Spiced Pear, Cantaloupe and Tarragon and Peach and Bourbon. There's a definite emphasis on using the best seasonal organic fruits, veggies, herbs and spices available and the cookbook teaches you how to make a simple syrup and even how to experiment on pairing non-traditional flavors together to create your own unique pops at home!
Now while some of the flavors were a bit much to try out on my not-all-that-culinarily-adventurous crew, the adding of some balsamic vinegar to a basic strawberry popsicle was a hands-down winner here! You can sort of taste the vinegar, but not really. Mostly it just makes the strawberries seem more strawberryish, if that makes any sense at all. The pops are sweet and tart and immensely lickable! And easy to make!! And just in time for the weekend. Woo-hoo, it's all so exciting! If you spend any time at all here on this site, you know how much I love pops and these are amazingly refreshing and a pretty healthy treat too! So pick up a copy of People's Pops, freeze up a batch and enjoy the drips with your people! Have a great weekend everyone!!
Strawberry & Balsamic Vinegar
Makes 10 pops
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus time to make simple syrup and let it cool); Chilling Time: 4-5 hours or longer
For the Simple Syrup
2/3 cup organic cane sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
2/3 cup water
For the Pops
A little over 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and very large ones cut in half
3/4 cup simple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons inexpensive balsamic vinegar (it's actually better with the cheap stuff here!)
1. To make the simple syrup: Place the sugar and water in a small pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer, stirring so that the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator. You can make this several weeks ahead and keep chilled.
2. To make the pops: Place the berries in a food processor and puree. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the simple syrup and lemon juice well. Add the balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well and taste. Go slowly because you want that delicate balance of sweet and sour. When the mixture tastes right, you can either strain it into a pitcher if you want to get rid of all the seeds or simply pour it into a pitcher as is and pour into the pop molds. Insert the sticks and cover. Freeze until solid. To unmold, run the molds under hot water for a minute or two.
Note: Recipe adapted from People's Pops by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell and Joel Horowitz.