Back in early July, I rewarded myself for some finished project with a copy of Paletas and a set of Tovolo Ice Pop Molds. The planned Festival of Popsicles didn’t quite happen, but I did regularly make these two paletas and dream of many, many other recipes in the book. In fact, it occurs to me that there’s nothing stopping me from making them right now in the dead of winter, given the various fruits that are down in the cellar freezer. Gerson is an impeccable writer, and this book is an excellent way to move through the seasons and through a freezer.
These preps also served to break in a surprising development in my kitchen: a food processor. I have not heretofore believed in food processors, but that’s changed. Due to a double-points offer on my Amazon credit card and the general high expense of attending CCCC, a free KitchenAid 12-Cup Food Processor arrived on the doorstep early in the summer. These paletas were among the first things I made with it.
Paletas de Fresa
4 cups fresh strawberries, preferably wild, hulled and cut into quarters
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let sit until the strawberries start releasing their natural juices, 20-30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat. Simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth; alternatively, you could leave some chunks in if you like.
If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, snap on the lid, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1.5 – 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4-5 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Paletas de Piña con Chile
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 small serrano or jalepeño pepper, split lengthwise
1 ripe pineapple, peeled
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 teaspoons ground chiles (piquin, guajillo, or arbol)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Add the serrano, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Finely dice 1.5 cups of the pineapple and coarsely chop the rest. Mix the diced pineapple with the chile and salt and set aside. Put the coarsely chopped pineapple in a blender or food processor, pour in the syrup, add lime juice, and blend until smooth.
Divide the blended mixture among the molds, leaving enough room for the diced pineapple. If using conventional molds, don’t snap on the lids yet. Freeze until the mixture has a slushy consistency, about 30 minutes. (This will prevent the diced pineapple from sinking to the bottom when added.)
Drop the diced pineapple into the ice pops, dividing it evenly among the molds. If it floats, push it down with a small spoon or an ice pop stick (or a chopstick). If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using other methods, freeze according to directions in previous recipe.