Getting Fresh: A Sucker for Popsicles
Last year at this time, I broke in a set of popsicle molds. It was a big step beyond the age-old, homegrown method of pouring juice into Dixie cups, inserting a stick in the middle and patiently waiting for the stuff to freeze.
This newfangled contraption had suction cups, a built-in tray and handy-dandy reusable sticks -- way cool. So I went to work and pureed a mango -- some of you may remember -- and then I never bothered to post the recipe. Here's why: Although thrilled with their stunningly good looks and freeze-ability, the 'sicles tasted kind of eh. Kind of rough on the tongue, kinda chalky.
Maybe a kid hankering for a cool pop wouldn't notice the texture value, but this big kid did, which prompted further exploration on this frozen matter.
Thing is, I winged it last year, without any kind of recipe at all, and I concluded that ad hoc popsicles definitely do suck -- in the worst possible way. If you want a homemade popsicle to dance on your tongue, you need some recipe structure -- as in details for a sorbet.
A sorbet-based popsicle ensures the right balance of water, fruit and flavorings but without the need for an ice cream maker. The sorbet base needs several hours in the fridge to chill, then it can be poured into the molds for the deep freeze. (Confession: Last night, as I was pouring my chilled base into molds, the liquid leaked with the slightest movement. It took me 20 minutes to figure out that the molds were not tightly suctioned, creating a seal.)
Riding high on my great success with ice cream sandwiches and coffee frozen yogurt, I decided to return to David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop," which contains at least a dozen recipes for sorbet. Two in-season watermelons from the farmer's market made the flavor decision easy, and man, I gotta tell ya, watermelon, when pureed, transforms into dreamy shades of pink and yellow that are reminiscent of the Caribbean.
The ever-playful Lebovitz suggests replacing the unsightly black seeds with a more tasty replacement -- mini chocolate chips. The flavor is kapow, for lack of a better word. And the texture -- now that's what I 'm talking about -- smooth and almost creamy, like a really good sorbet.
Please do try this at home! Thrills guaranteed. Recipe below the jump.
P.S. Today at 1 ET, I'm hosting my monthly vegetarian round table. Join us for some meat-free hoopla.
Watermelon Sorbetto Popsicles
From "The Perfect Scoop," by David Lebovitz
3 cups watermelon juice -- from about a 3-pound chunk of melon, rind and seeds removed and pureed in a blender or food processor
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon juice of a lime
1-2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
1-2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
In a small nonreactive saucepan, heat about 1/2 cup of the watermelon juice with the sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir sugared syrup into remaining 2 1/2 cups of watermelon juice in a medium bowl. Mix in lime juice and vodka (if using).
Chill mixture thoroughly, for at least four hours, then pour mixture into plastic popsicle molds and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
For sorbetto out of the mod: Freeze chilled mixture in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During last minute of churning, add chocolate chips.
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