In the middle of summer, I know that the kitchen (and the stove) is the last place you’d want to be near, particularly when the whole country is melting under record breaking temperatures in the three digits. But if you’re craving something sweet and icey cold, but are averse to venturing beyond your air conditioned cave, I say make some paletas!!
Paletas are Mexican popsicles, a ubiquitous street food, particularly in neighborhoods with sizable Hispanic population, such as my neck of the woods, Jackson Heights. Paletas come in two types: milk-based or water-based. They are made from fruit and sweetened with a sugar syrup and lime juice.
This recipe is made with pineapple and mint, but feel free to get inventive and use any combination of fruit, herb, and spices!
2011 Heat Wave Paletas
1 C. granulated Sugar (I ran out of granulated sugar, so I used brown sugar)
1 C. Water
1 bunch Mint
2 Limes, juiced and zest
1 Pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small chunks
1. To make a simple syrup: in a small sauce pan, add water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved over medium-low heat.
2. Add mint and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, juice and zest the limes and set aside.
3. Pour the syrup mixture through a sieve to strain out the mint into a pourable container (such as a Pyrex measuring cup) to cool (although, if you’re impatient like me, skip the cooling and go on to the next step).
4. Put the pineapple chunks into a deep mixing bowl, add the syrup and use a hand blender to pulse until a pulpy juice consistency (if you don’t have a hand blender, a regular blender or even a food processor will do). Add the lime juice and zest and use a spatula to mix well.
5. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top to allow room for the liquid to expand. In my fridge, the pops usually set within 3 to 4 hours.
Bonus: If you happen to have dark rum, and it happens to enjoy the company of pineapples, then feel free to sneak in as much as you like, after all, if you are a parent (veteran or newbie) such as I, just tell yourself that you deserve this adult indulgence. Just don’t forget to grab a towel to sop up the juices dripping on your kids’ foreheads while you devour your paletas over their little sleepy heads!