Paletas – Popsicles, But Better

Ranking right next to ice cream, for most Americans, the popsicle is considered the quintessential summer treat. After trying Mexico’s take on our favorite summer dessert, the Paleta, we’re starting to rethink things.

The Difference Between

Both the popsicle and the paleta are frozen and served on slim wooden sticks, in fact, the word “Paleta” roughly translates to “little stick” which seems fitting given its mode of transportation, but that is where the similarities stop. Where the traditional American popsicle is made of sugar syrup, food dyes, and artificial flavors, the paleta is created using whole ingredients.

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The range of flavors goes way beyond fruit. Fresh herbs, nuts, and spices are involved, transforming and elevating what we normally think of as a popsicle. No longer just a solid brick of sweet flavors, the paleta boasts textural interest, some are studded with nuts, accented with hunks of fruit, or filled with caramels and creams.

Carpe Paleta

Now that the glaring deficiencies of the popsicle have been made clear, we want to encourage you to begin experimenting with your own paletas. Not only are they easy to create but they also lend a more cosmopolitan flair to the average summer menu. With the help of a Paleta stand they can be served to a table in fun and impressive ways, they also make for the perfect to-go item. To get you started we have one of our favorite flavor combinations along with instructions to prepare your own.

Strawberry Mango Paletas

Ingredients: Makes 40 Ice Pops

  • 6¼ cups chopped strawberries
  • 2½ cup granulated sugar
  • 15 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ripe medium mangoes (app. 10 lbs)

Instructions

In a small saucepan, toss the strawberries with half of the sugar and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Add 1¼ cups of water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cook the strawberries until thickened slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in ⅓ of the lime juice and half of the salt. Let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the mangoes with the remaining sugar, lime juice, and salt until smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl and clean the blender. In the blender, puree the now cooled strawberry mixture until smooth.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mango puree into the bottom of each 3-ounce ice pop mold. Add 2 tablespoons of the strawberry puree to each mold, then top with the remaining mango puree, leaving 1/2 inch between the filling and the top of the mold. Using a small knife, gently swirl the mango and strawberry layers together. Insert wooden ice pop sticks and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Dip the molds in hot water for a few seconds, then unmold the paletas and serve right away.

A note on advanced preparation: The paletas can easily be made in advance, covered and frozen in a single layer for up to 1 week.

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Hannah Abaffy

Hannah Abaffy

Pastry Chef & Recipe Development

Hannah Abaffy is a pastry chef and an active member of the culinary community. From working in kitchens to developing recipes, and creating menus for restaurants, she has been involved with food in one capacity or another for the past decade. After starting a food history blog, Hannah has been continuously writing and learning about the ever-changing realm of cuisine, its history, and its future. Since then her appetite to learn about and share all things that touch upon the world of food can only be described as voracious.

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