Chef and author Fany Gerson knows that making ice pops is not graduate-level cooking. So in her latest cookbook, Paletas, she raises the bar of simple ice pops, shaved ice and aguas frescas--fruit, water, sugar--and adds exotic and unusual ingredients like tamarind, chiles, avocado, and chocolate. She takes the time to partially freeze some of the ice pops to add chunks of fruit, or puree and strain others to create a smooth texture. She recommends freshly squeezed citrus and fruit when it's in season. The results are flavorful frozen treats as beautiful as they are flavorful.
Spicy Pineapple Ice Pops
Makes 8 to 10
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 small serrano or jalapeño pepper, split lengthwise
1 ripe pineapple, peeled
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons ground chiles (piquin, guajillo, or arbol)
½ teaspoon salt
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Add the serrano, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Finely dice 1½ cups of the pineapple and coarsely chop the rest. Mixed the diced pineapple with the chile and salt and set aside. Put the coarsely chopped pineapple in a blender or food processor, pour in the syrup and lime juice, and blend until smooth.
Divide the blended mixture among the molds, leaving room for the diced pineapple. If using conventional molds, don't snap on the lids yet. Freeze until the mixture has a slushy consistency, about 30 minutes. (This will prevent the diced pineapple from sinking to the bottom when added.)
Drop the diced pineapple into the ice pops, dividing it evenly among the molds. If it floats, push it down with a small soon or an ice pop stick.
If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, mix the diced pineapple in with the blended mixture, then pour into the molds and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
(From Paletas, Copyright © 2011 by Fany Gerson. Published by Ten Speed Press)