June 21, 2011

Paletas…A Little Taste of my Childhood

My olfactory nerve seemed to have gone into overdrive. I found myself transported to my aunt’s kitchen smelling the sweet intoxicating perfume of ripe mangoes and pineapples as I was milling around my own kitchen. Just like that, I was a child again on a tiny tropical island looking to sink my teeth into a mango I had just rescued from some dastardly chickens. That was my job early in the mornings; gather the mangoes that fell off the tree overnight before the animals did.  These were truly ‘free range’ chickens. 

Most of my childhood summer breaks were spent with family on the vibrant and achingly beautiful island of Puerto Rico.  The airplane carrying a very tiny me would come into it's final descend and, depending on air traffic patterns, gave opportunity to have a bird’s eye view of El Morro, one of Puerto Rico’s most enduring symbols.  And just beyond, stretches of bursting coast line as far as my eyes could see. That view never got old.

Reluctantly, I snapped back to reality, picked up one of the mangoes on my counter and inhaled deeply.  Yep. They were ripe and they had beckoned me.  So I did as my aunt would have done with a bumper crop of super ripe fruit, I made paletas!  Ice pops for you non-Spanish speaking folks!

She would give her little city-slicker niece a choice of either ice pops or batidas (fruit shakes).  I usually opted for the icy jewels which she would make for me in Dixie cups or ice cube trays.  Yes, I would have to wait a bit til’ after lunch, but it was soooooo worth it. 

My girls feel the same way.  After a few blistering days earlier this month, they were happy to come home after school to have a few of these waiting for them in the freezer=)

Mango Paletas

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 C  milk, any kind of milk: whole, evaporated, coconut, half and half
 ¼ - ½ C sugar (or 7 oz. condensed milk)
popsicle sticks

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend. It’s ok if you have small chunks of fruit remaining; I think it tastes better this way anyway.

As for the sugar, feel free to try other sweeteners like agave; it works well with this recipe.  Keep in mind fruit tastes less sweet when frozen.

Pour into ice pop molds or Dixie cups.

Freeze for about an hour or so, they should be slushy at this point and add the popsicle sticks.

Continue to freeze until solid about 4-5 hours.

Makes 10 paletas or 12 Dixie cups ice pops!

What’s great about this recipe is you can use any fresh, ripe fruit you may have on hand and follow the same instructions above.

Dairy Free Pineapple Paletas
One whole fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 C coconut milk
¼ - ½ C sugar

Banana Paletas
2C chopped bananas
1C evaporated milk
¼ - ½ C sugar
1t vanilla extract

One of my favorite ice pop flavors is coconut.  You add a dash of cinnamon to the pop once you're ready to eat it for a little spice!  Around the island this is known as ‘limber’.  Ah, you need to say it with a Spanish accent=)  However, I’ll share a quicker version that doesn’t require the time consuming task of splitting a real coconut and making your own coconut milk!

Coconut Paletas
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
2/3C half and half
7oz. condensed milk (half a can)
1oz. pure coconut cream, softened
1t vanilla extract

Buen Provecho!


The Vanilla Bean Baker said...

These looks so delicious and so very refreshing! How wonderful for you to have spent your summer breaks with your relatives in Puerto Rico and how brave of you to travel there in a little tiny airplane! I think I'd love the mango and/or banana paletas the most.

Jill Colonna said...

Oh wow. I HAVE to make your paletas for my girls: they would adore them. We've just been making ice-pops using smoothies but this is a must. I can imagine the flavours with that condensed milk and coconut. Thanks for these recipes: the pineapple and mango ones are on the list, for sure. Learned something today in Spanish :-), as well as the coconut and cinnamon. Sounds wonderful!

Myrna said...

Thanks Paula for the wonderful comment and for visiting! I presently have raspberry paletas in the freezer; been up to my eyeballs in berries this past week=D

Myrna said...

Hi Jill! Thanks for visiting! I'm sure your girls would adore these refreshing snacks, they are winners! My girls will be in for a treat once I begin to tackle macarons=) Though, I have to admit I am a little intimidated by the thought of making them. However, consuming macarons have never been a problem!

The Harried Cook said...

Yummy! This sounds so good... Love the ingredients in this... and we have SO much mango here :) Thanks for sharing, Myrna!

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