Reflecting recently how much I like a good paleta (Mexican popsicles, often made with fresh fruit and a little sweetener), I picked up a few molds and a book for inspiration.
And then for a New Year’s Eve party I made two flavors: toasted coconut and lime-mezcal-chili. The latter used limes, cayenne peppers, and limequats from our back yard (the limequat is the edible kumquat-sized citrus sliced thin and frozen into the paleta below, mostly for appearance):
These were easy and successful…
Lime-mezcal-chili paleta (makes about 10 regular-size):
- Infused lime-chili syrup (bring the following to a simmer for 5 minutes and then cool and strain):
- 2 cups water
- zest of three medium limes
- One small 2″ long green cayenne pepper from the garden, including seeds
- 3/4 cups brown sugar (I was out of white sugar, but would use it next time to keep the color lighter)
- 3/4 cup lime juice
- One thin-sliced limequat for every two paletas
- a pinch of red chili flake (chinese chili) per paleta
I loved the way these turned out– with our Bearss limes the result is quite tart (which is good), and there’s just a hint of pepper heat. The mezcal adds some smokiness and a bit of liquor flavor while still being little enough alcohol that the paleta freezes (I estimate this works out to about 1/6th of a beer’s worth of alcohol per popsicle, so it’s not going to get anyone tipsy).
The red chili flake did tend to all settle to the bottom or float to the top, so if I did this again I might infuse it into the syrup and then strain it out, or try freezing the paletas for an hour to a slushy form and then mixing in the chili flakes, on the theory they’d stay more distributed.
Toasted coconut paleta (makes about 12 regular size):
(I based this on the ‘quick coconut paleta’ recipe in the book above)
- One can (14oz) coconut milk
- One can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup finely shredded coconut, toasted in a 300F oven for just 2-3 minutes until golden brown
These were pretty good– they had an amazingly creamy texture, and I like the toasted coconut. They were sweeter than I like, so if I did it again I’d put in significantly less sugar (maybe half as much condensed milk, and more coconut milk) and buy or make coarser shredded coconut (and use less of it) for some more variation in texture.