WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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The Chilling Comfort Of Pops And Other Icy Treats

Regular daytime high temperatures near 100 degrees may be an unwelcome trend throughout America this summer, but the surging popularity of artisan popsicles is hitting the United States at just the right time. Kojo explores how creative approaches to fresh ingredients can produce delicious treats to keep you cool this summer.

Creative Popsicles For Kids And Adults

All images courtesy Krystina Castella.

Popsicle Recipes

Recipes courtesy "Pops! Icy Treats For Everyone" by Krystina Castella. Reprinted by permission of Quirk Books. All rights reserved.

Honeydew Melon Pops

Perfectly ripe honeydew melons are extraordinarily juicy and sweet. For these pops choose melons that have a high water content that are a little overripe. Honeydew is rich in vitamin C and potassium. Try layering the honeydew mixture with the watermelon and cantaloupe variations for beautiful pastel pops.

4 cups diced (1/2-inch cubes) ripe honeydew melon
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 3 limes
Grated zest of 1 lime
3 teaspoons honey

  1. Put 2 cups of the melon, the yogurt, and lime juice and zest in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.
  2. Add the honey; process again to combine.
  3. Stir in the remaining 2 cups melon.
  4. Fill the pop molds with the mixture. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
  5. Remove from the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Serve.
  6. Substitutions: Replace the honeydew melon with 5 cups diced watermelon, and replace the lime juice with 2 teaspoons almond extract. Add 1/3 cup almonds. Replace the honeydew melon with 4 cups diced cantaloupe, and replace the yogurt with 1/3 cup soy milk. Add 3 chopped fresh mint leaves.

Mai Tai Pops

East meets west in these Polynesian Mai Tai Pops. Think hula dancers, orchard leis, flaming torches, and some campy tiki fun. If you are really ambitious and want to create pops you won’t find anywhere else, make your own tiki head silicone molds to shape these pops. I like to present these pops on a bed of flowers or individually on a small plate next to a single orchid.

2 tablespoons light rum
2 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons orange curaçao
2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/4 cups sour mix (lemon & lime juices with simple syrup)
1/4 cup orgeat syrup or almond syrup
2 limes, unpeeled, cut into thin rounds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
12 fresh mint leaves

  1. In a pitcher, combine the rums and curaçao, orange juice, sour mix, lime juice, and orgeat syrup.
  2. Reserve 1 lime slice for each pop. Peel the remaining slices. Distribute the almonds, peeled lime slices, and mint leaves evenly among the pop molds.
  3. Pour the juice mixture into the molds. Freeze for at least 12 hours.
  4. Remove from the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds.
    Stick a reserved lime slice onto each stick for garnish. Let these pops transport you to summer in the South Seas.

Pomegranate Apple Pops

In college I had an assignment to choose a fruit and use the structure to inspire a design. I picked the familiar but somewhat boring banana. My friend chose the pomegranate. I had never seen one before and was fascinated by its color, shape, taste, and the number of seeds (I counted almost six hundred). Today, with evidence of the fruit’s health benefits piling up, pomegranates are everywhere, especially in juice form.

2 3/4 cups pomegranate juice, or 8 whole pomegranates
1 3/4 cups apple juice
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 pomegranate)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Rome apples, cored and sliced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  1. If using whole pomegranates instead of juice, make several cuts in the pomegranate skin from top to bottom. Immerse the pomegranate in a bowl of water and gently break it apart. Pull the seeds away from the pith and they will sink. Pour off everything but the seeds. Drain the seeds in a colander. Place the seeds in a blender and blend until finely chopped. Strain the liquid though a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with several layers of rinsed cheesecloth set over a large bowl.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, simmer the sugar and apple juice until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. For a blend of flavors: Combine all the juices together, add the seeds and apples, and pour into the pop molds. Freeze for 8 hours. For multilayer pops: Add half of the apple juice mixture to the pomegranate juice, along with the 3/4 cup seeds. Add the apples to the remaining apple juice. Partially fill the molds with the pomegranate juice mixture. Insert the sticks. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Add a layer of apple juice mixture, freeze for 2 hours, then add another layer of pomegranate; repeat, freezing for at least 2 hours between layers, until the pop molds are full.
  4. Remove from the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Serve to health-trend-conscious friends.

Thai Iced Coffee Pops

Thai iced coffee is a very sweet, creamy refreshment brewed by street vendors in a cloth bag and served in a plastic bag with plenty of crushed ice and a straw. These Thai Iced Coffee Pops are based on traditional recipes and serving methods. The Thai coffee powder (oliang) and the milk are poured over crushed ice and not mixed, creating one tasty layer on top of another.

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, or to taste
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk
2 cups Thai coffee powder (see Note)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 cups crushed ice

  1. In a small bowl, combine 6 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk, and milk. Stir and well and set aside.
  2. Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Spoon the coffee powder and cardamom into a cheesecloth bag or coffee filter. Close securely with kitchen string and place the bag in a heatproof pitcher. Pour the boiling water over the bag and add sweeten with the remaining sweetened condensed milk. Stir well. Let sit for 10 minutes, until dark brown, then remove and discard the bag.
  3. Fill each mold halfway with crushed ice. Pour in the milk mixture until one third full. Freeze for at least 20 minutes, until firm.
  4. Remove from the freezer. Fill the molds with the Thai coffee mixture. Freeze for at least 6 hours, until firm.
  5. Remove from the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Enjoy as an afternoon pick-me-up.
  6. Substitutions: Replace the coffee powder with 3/4 cup Thai iced tea powder. Stir until the mixture is orangish brown. Proceed with the Thai iced coffee method. Replace the evaporated milk with unsweetened coconut milk. Add the juice of 2 limes and some fresh mint leaves in step 3.

Note: Each brand of Thai coffee or iced tea powder calls for a different powder-to-water ratio. Read the directions on the package to adjust this recipe as needed.

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