This last week has been hot. Mid 80’s to low 90’s may not sound hot to some of you, but for me, it’s migraine-inducing. I have survived -40° in Alaska, and I would rather have that. To be honest, though, the big problem here was that it was humid. Add to that a broken air conditioner and a power outage due to an underground wire being disrupted on the day I was going to photograph this post’s main content and you have a pretty unhappy blogger.
I was planning out this recipe for a long time, since I was anticipating a hot summer. I’m not much for frozen sweets, but spring and summer fruits are my culinary weakness. I’m lucky to live on the western side of the US (despite this odd weather and all these fires), because the coastal states have some of the best fruits — Cherries from Washington, watermelons from Oregon, and everything else from California. ….None of them can touch Idaho’s potatoes or apricots, but that’s another story. (side note: Idaho is part of the Pacific Northwest due to its seaport, Lewiston. No one can tell me otherwise.) Add to this tropical-region fruits, and everything gets better.
I’ve looked around at various popsicle recipes online and found that most of them follow the same general pattern: mix pureed fruit with a liquid and sweetener, then freeze. The majority of these looked far too sweet for me, so I played around and made my own style of popsicle:
1 can coconut cream (or milk)
Various summer fruits — strawberries, pineapple, peach, blueberries, banana
Sugar/Stevia/Agave/Sweetener to taste
I love coconut despite some of the problems with its agriculture, so I decided to use it as the main liquid in my pseudo-recipe. However, I also tried fruit juice and almond milk and while there were textural differences, all were really tasty.
Mix sugar and cream — I used 2 tsp for a whole XXXX oz. can, but I would suggest up to a 1/4 if you really like your sweets sweet. Personally, I like my coconut a bit less sweet than commercial coconut popsicles. If you use more than 2 tbsp sugar, I would suggest heating the mixture to make sure everything dissolves. If using dairy milk, try adding ~1 tsp vanilla for flavor.
Fill mold (or Dixie cup) 1/2 way with pureed fruit, then add liquid. Mix. Stick a popsicle stick into mixture and pop into freezer. After about 2 hours, check to make sure all sticks are vertical if using Dixie cups (this isn’t necessary — and it’s actually easier to eat the ones that aren’t like that… but it doesn’t look quite as nice).
It’s easier to mix everything together and make up one large batch, but I mixed the liquid and various fruits one by one per cup so that I could make all sorts of different flavors. One thing I found was that it was easier to eat the popsicles when the fruit was very well pureed and even strained. I actually used diced fruit in the first set, and it was incredibly difficult to eat in comparison to the subsequent batches. Also, for the Dixie cups, it was much easier to eat if the cup was squished a bit, making something of an oval instead of leaving it round. It doesn’t look as pretty, but it much easier.
The fruit had a tendency to settle to the bottom with the coconut milk. This probably happens less with condensed milk, cream, and ice cream, most likely because of thickness issues. However, I kind of like the ombre look.
I also tested watermelon as a base, and found that watermelon was very watery — and water had a tendency to crystallize as pockets of ice between the juice/pulp. However, it was much lighter in texture than the coconut/milk base, so it probably would be better on a really hot day.
My favorite was the pineapple-coconut. You just can’t go wrong with that mix.
I also made an ‘Almond Joy’ popsicle — chocolate almond milk with the coconut mixture. The water separated out a lot, but it was marbled throughout, so it made the texture really nice.
To be honest, I think I like these kinds of popsicles more than the majority of the store-bought brands. I love being able to use only a few ingredients and get something this good out of them. I just bought a new popsicle mold, so I think I’ll be good through the summer. Yay!