These popsicles are the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. And with lots of summer still ahead, I'll be making more of these for sure.
A paleta, or paleta helada, is pretty much like a Popsicle (as they’re known in the U.S.) or an ice lolly (as they’re known in Britain). The difference is that a traditional Mexican paleta is made with real fresh fruit juice, and sometimes carries chunks of real fruit in it.
An old Mexican legend says that the Aztec emperors had servants who would bring ice from the Popocatepetl volcano, outside Mexico City. The emperors would eat this ice, mixed with fruits. This sounds exotic but isn’t backed up by written historical sources. What we do know is that during the Viceregal times, the historical name for the period of the Spanish conquest, the Spanish crown regulated and monopolized the ice market. People paid high taxes to have access to it.
in the 1940’s, one of the most famous Mexican heladerías opened for business —La Michoacana, a family run store in Tocumbo Michoacan, a small town near where I once lived in Mexico. This little ice cream store eventually became the brand that popularized paletas all over Mexico. Today, it’s almost impossible to travel to a Mexican neighborhood without seeing a La Michoacana paleta shop, or a convenience store that sells paletas over the counter.
Paletas can come in the usual orange, strawberry, lemon, etc. flavors or Mexican flavors like sandia (watermelon), jamaica (hibiscus flower, aka sorrel), tamarindo (tangy tropical seed pods), arroz (rice pudding), guayaba (guava, usually with seeds), nuez (pecan), cajeta (milk caramel), ronpope (eggnog), nance (a yellow, sour, cherry-like fruit), guanabana (soursop), pepino con chile (cucumber with chili). One paleteria sells over 200 flavors. In Mexico, they sell changunga paletas. Changungas grow wild in the Michoacan countryside. This cherry-like yellow-brown, fruit gathered from shrubs is said to have a unique flavor. Sometimes they are covered with chocolate or nuts, and sometimes they have layers of different flavors.
Water base and cream base are the two choices you normally get and the flavors are just basically endless, if you can think it you can make it.
So with this said there are many, many factors that will change and alter a recipe even if I intend to give you a set recipe, for example; flavor, type paleta you making (Water or cream based), size and ripeness of the fruit... and not only that but the making of these bars is part of the fun and discovery just as much as eating them, so have fun with them and create some fun amazing frozen master pieces.
Here is a basic guidelines that I use for you to start your discovery.
As mentioned there are two types of Palateas. Water and Cream base.
For Cream Base
Below is the perfect blend of milks I like best to create a really good cream base for your paletas, remember… you will need to add your flavors to your base fruit, nuts, etc. just like making a smoothie after all is well blended freeze following the same freezing techniques from the cantaloupe recipe below.
1 Can of Evaporated Milk
1 Can of Condensed Milk
1 cup of Half & Half – (This can be changes to heavy cream or milk depending the creaminess you are looking for and or even yogurt)
½ cup of Sugar
1 Table spoon Pure Vanilla Extract
For the water fruit base your sweetener will be simple syrup you can make at home 50/50 ratio of sugar and water.
For Water Base
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Combine the water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool. Once this is done then it’s all about choosing the flavor, below is a basic recipe I often use in the summer to give you a foundation, remember, you can change the recipe by changing the fruit, just try to stay with in the same fruit amounts.
Cantaloupe & Lime Paletas
Makes 10 popsicles
1 ripe cantaloupe, seeded, peeled, and cubed (about 4 cups)
Juice of half a lime
1/4 cup (or more) simple syrup, to taste
In a blender, combine cantaloupe, lime juice, and simple syrup, to taste. Err on the side of sweetness as when the popsicles freeze, the sweetness diminishes. Blend until smooth.
Strain the mixture and pour into your Popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2 an inch from the top of the molds. Cover and place in the freezer. Meanwhile, soak wooden Popsicle sticks in
warm water (this will help prevent them from floating when you insert them). After two hours of freezing time, insert the sticks in the slushy popsicles. Continue to freeze for four hours or longer, until completely frozen.
Rinse the molds for 30-60 seconds under running hot water to loosen the popsicles. Un-mold and enjoy!
Happy Summer Guys and Happy Cooking!