I can’t say I know much about the differences, if any, between ice pops and paletas . I don’t consider myself an expert at either. “Expert” is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. I’ve been making paletas, especially these Lime Berry Paletas, every summer ever since some wonderful company, I can’t now remember the name of, had the great idea to comp me a set of pop, er, paleta molds. Best freebie I ever got! Who knew some inexpensive, formed plastic, retailing for less than $10 would come to define summer for me?
“Pops” must be those icy treats associated with childhood, comprised of somewhat singular flavors such as “orange”, “cherry”, or, um, “purple.” Paletas , on the other hand come in countless flavor combinations, often containing a wide assortment of fruits, nuts and other ingredients. Even booze! And whereas a pop is often cloyingly sweet and unimaginative, a paleta (a name derived from the Spanish word for ‘stick’) embraces a more sophisticated profile of the sweet, spicy and sour flavors that everybody loves.
If you had a choice, wouldn’t you choose paletas over pops? I certainly would, if not for the same reason that I would always choose gelato over ice cream and would prefer a gateau au chocolate to a chocolate cake for dessert.
This is all well and good yet I know full well this particular Lime Berry Paleta I present here is no doubt one of the least imaginative paleta examples out there. And yet it is sublime. I can’t imagine a single summer passing without enjoying a few batches.
Limes are now a year-round supermarket staple. The best, juiciest limes, however, come between May and October, provided there are no Mexican drug lord lime famines . Summer and limes are linked in my mind due to the dominance of the margarita as a summer cocktail. You will note that it is no accident that the recipe mixture used for these pops, er, paletas, can easily be hijacked to craft an amazing margarita.
And yet here we are with only days left until Labor Day and I only yesterday remembered to make them!
It has been a forgetful summer. I just remembered I have a pair of great-fitting white jeans sitting in my closet I have yet to wear. I have yet to make that quart (or four) of pesto I like to store in my freezer for use throughout the year. I still haven’t scored that killer deal on a full box (or two) of Farmer’s Market ripe summer tomatoes to make into red sauce. I forgot to buy tickets to something (anything) at the Hollywood Bowl this year. I even forgot to go to the beach even though I live only minutes from it.
Not making these Lime Berry Paletas until may have been the worst memory fail of all. Thankfully, unlike the white jeans, I can enjoy them all year round.
Fany Gerson is my go-to expert on paletas and has written what I think is the definitive book on the subject. The book is chock-full of imaginative and tasty recipes yet this particular one is an adaptation from least imaginative one of the lot. Buy the book and try one of the many spectacular paletas she has shared in her not-to-imaginatively titled book, "Paletas".
This is what you will need:
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 1-inch strips of lime zest
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Assorted berries (or other fruit)
- scant 1/3 cup tequila blanco (optional)
This is how you make it:
- Combine water, sugar, and lime zest in a small nonreactive saucepan. Cook, stirring over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperatures. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, then stir in the lime juice and tequila (if using.)
- If using conventional molds, divide the mixture month the molds, snap on the lid, insert sticks, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until the pops just begin to set (about 2 hours), then insert sticks and freeze until solid.
I was recently had a lot of fun being interviewed by Foody Direct . The interview was part of their Expert Interview program. I was amused because I don’t really consider myself much of an expert on anything but who was I to tell them they were wrong? Besides, I got to tell them a bit about French Friday’s with Dorie and about my appreciation for good olive oil. Who would pass that up?
Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think.