By Rick Bayless
It’s summer, I’m writing these words sitting in the backyard, and I can hear the bells of the paletero jingling in front of the school next door, reminding the kids that he has sweet frozen fruit on sticks—from guanabana and papaya to coconut and tamarind—for an afternoon treat. These coarse fruit purees frozen into slabs are as refreshing and healthy as any snack. Frozen tropical fruit purees are available in Mexican grocery stores or, even better, make them from fresh fruit. Given that there are several versions of molds available from discount department and cookware stores, you’ll be able to make these frozen fruit pops easily at home. Lacking them, partially freeze fruit purees in small paper cups, then stand up wooden sticks (available at craft stores) in them (for added support lay a piece of cardboard over them with holes to support the sticks). A variety of flavors is great for a party. You may even want to include this year’s new sensation—cucumber with sugar, salt and hot chile powder.
Makes 8 2-ounce popsicles
- 2 scant cups coarsely pureed peeled and pitted fruit (for really thick purees, like mango, you’ll probably want to use 1 ½ cups of fruit and a ½ cup of water; with looser purees, I wouldn’t add any water)
- 1 to 4 tablespoons sugar—superfine sugar works best here (you can buy it or make it by running regular granulated sugar in your food processor for several minutes)
- ½ to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- In a medium-size bowl or in a 1-qurt measuring cup with a pour spout, combine the fruit with the minimum quantities of sugar and lime. Taste and determine what your fruit needs. Remember: when the mixture is frozen, flavors will be slightly muted; go for slightly sweeter and slightly tarter than you’d normally like. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved completely, then fill your molds, leaving about ¼-inch of head space to allow for expansion. Set the lids in place and insert the sticks through the holes, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches exposed.
- Freeze until firmly set (this should take a couple of hours, though feel free to make them several days ahead if that’s more convenient). To remove the Popsicles, first remove the lids, then squeeze the sides of the molds, twisting them slightly, to dislodge the pop. (If necessary, rinse the molds under hot water first.) These look festive and fun set out for your friends in a chilled bowl, all the sticks poking up.