Monday, July 26, 2010

Have a Happy Heat Wave . . . with Mango Strawberry Popsicles!

Popsicles sure have come a long way since I was a kid. (And I'm using the term "popsicle" in its generic sense here, just so we're clear.) Back then, the choices were awfully limited. We had orange, grape, and red (what flavor was that red one attempting to emulate anyway--cherry? raspberry? strawberry? . . . no way to  tell). Yeah, they were sweet, colored, ice hunks on a stick. 

At the time, I thought they were darn good. I had no standards, no point of comparison. I wasn't the kind of kid to turn down any cold treat on a hot summer day. I was ignorant, thus blissful. A popsicle was a popsicle was a popsicle. After all, in the 1960's there was nothing available that even approached the vast array of interesting stock one finds these days in the freezer case of any local market. So what did I know?

Of course, these days, we're virtually adrift in frozen novelties. (And, speaking of which, don't you just love that phrase?  It's so whimsically vague. It implies all sorts of magical possibilities, cast in ice. I wonder what hard-drinkin', cig-smokin' salesman came up with that. Whoever he was, I'll bet he ate a lot of 'em.) The choices can be dizzying. I say, if you can't decide, head for the fruitiest bars you can find. Or, better yet, make your own.

I can't honestly recall the first time I tasted a frozen bar that seemed as if it was comprised more from fruit than it was from sugar water, but it must have been a revelation to me. Popsicles laden with real fruit are in a class by themselves. They cost more, for one thing. They're usually far, far prettier than their more insipid counterparts, and they appeal to kids and adults alike. I mean, who could turn their nose up at a fresh, brightly constructed popsicle that's been packed with fruit? Well, no one, that's who.

This super simple recipe satisfies the urge for an icy treat that's low in calories and only as sweet as you want to make it. I built it quickly using strawberries, a couple of perfectly ripe mangoes, a little Greek style yogurt, and clover honey. That's it--so easy! Haul out your popsicle mold (I bought mine here), or just use plastic cups, get yourself some wooden craft sticks, and go to town! 

Homemade Mango Strawberry Popsicles 

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

 Have your popsicle molds, and the wooden sticks, ready and standing by. This recipe makes up to about four cups worth of liquid to pour into them. My popsicle mold makes 10 standard size pops.

2 medium size mangoes, completely ripe but not too soft; peeled, cut off the pit, and cut into medium-size chunks (about 2 cups of pieces)
1 cup clean strawberry pieces, halved
3/4 cup clean strawberry pieces, chopped into small pieces
honey, to taste (I used 4 Tbsp. of typical clover honey)
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt (I used the higher fat type; use low, though, if you prefer)

In the large bowl of your food processor, puree all of the mango and the 1 cup of halved strawberry pieces until quite smooth and free of large lumps.

Add in the yogurt, and pulse for a moment just to combine. Add in the honey to taste; add as much as you prefer to get the desired sweetness. 

Pour the mixture into the molds, scattering in pieces of the small-chopped strawberries as you pour so they'll be distributed throughout each bar. 

Put the sticks in (the wooden sticks for my mold have to be soaked in water for an hour prior to being stuck into the popsicle liquid; my mold has a loose metal lid and the sticks go through tight slots, as shown), and freeze for at least one hour, until completely solid.

To get the frozen pops out of my mold, I run it under warm water for several seconds, remove the metal top, and then firmly pull up on the sticks. It works pretty well.

And voila! Enjoy!

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