Written on 11:29 AM by TLC
In today's New York Times, Mark "The Minimalist" Bittman gives some quick tips on how to make paletas. I thought I'd give it a share, since it's cheap, tasty and healthy (if you care about that kind of thing). Happy summer.
Mexican Summer on a Stick:
"YOU can freeze fruit juice and call it sorbet. You can add a bit of milk or cream to make it richer and smoother, and call it sherbet.
Or you can freeze either form on a stick and call it a paleta. The term, Spanish for “little stick,” describes any sweet ice pop.
Like sorbet or sherbet, these frozen snacks are easily made at home; all you need is a set of plastic molds, sold in many supermarkets, toy stores and online. For a lower-tech solution, you can use small paper cups and insert wooden sticks in them once the mixture freezes hard enough to support them.
Throughout Mexico, paletas are made with fresh fruit and not much sugar, pretty much the opposite of commercial sorbets and sherbets sold here.
A couple of good examples are bananas puréed with milk, vanilla (lime or lemon are also good options) and sugar; and berries, puréed and mixed with lime, a touch of chili, and, again, some milk and sugar.
In every case, the dairy is optional. Adding it produces a paleta de leche, which has a more distinctive texture than the dairy-free paleta de agua, which is icier.
If you can imagine a paleta, you can produce it. I’ve made them with horchata, the sweet rice-milk drink spiked with cinnamon that is sold throughout Mexico and in many Mexican restaurants in the United States. I’ve made them with a combination of cucumber, watermelon and lime (more or less traditional), and from little more than canned coconut milk sweetened with sugar and spiked with a bit of rum.
For the fruit, consider pineapple (best puréed with water or a little pineapple juice), lime, melon, mango or berries. Seasonings can include citrus (lime is especially popular), spirits, cinnamon and chili.
You can even make something approaching a chocolate ice pop by starting with hot cocoa, made with more water than milk, then freezing it.
In each case, purée the fruit with enough liquid to make the mixture really smooth, strain to extract seeds if necessary, and taste the juice before you freeze it. Then add more sugar or seasoning accordingly."