Welcome to Popsicle Week! It’s August and we all could use some more frozen treats in our lives. I love ice cream, but for a lazy day by the pool? Nothing beats an ice pop on a stick.
Looking for inspiration? Billy Green at Wit and Vinegar has organized an awesome week of popsicle posts from a couple dozen bloggers. Visit his popsicle page here throughout the week for all the pops.
My contribution is the Plum, Basil, and Yogurt Ice Pop. Pretty, fruity, and perfect for these super hot days.
We start with fresh plums. Plop them onto a baking sheet and roast until the fruit slumps and the sheet is streaked with red syrup. I can’t believe how much flavor comes from the roasted plums. But then again, this is their season. Roasting the fruit intensifies the flavor even more.
The simple syrup comes together quickly while the plums do their thing. The People’s Pops recipe infuses this pop with the anise-like tarragon, but after a few trips to a couple stores I could not get my hands on it. Here’s where basil comes in. I decided it would be a great substitute for a summer treat, and it totally was. The syrup becomes incredibly fragrant and heady with the herb I most closely associate with summertime.
Those softened plums go for a spin in the food processor and whip up into a pink, frothy mixture. Mix it with the syrup and a little lemon juice. Vanilla yogurt is swirled in at the end.
The pop pros in NYC say this is one of their top 10 flavors ever. I can see why. I loved their raspberry and cream pop, but this one is more complex. It’s a winner.
I’ve been eating the paletas when I get home from work to hold me over until dinner or for a quick breakfast. I mean, it’s basically fruit and yogurt. Breakfast foods in any other context.
What pop flavors are on your list this summer?
plum, basil, and yogurt ice pops
The people of People’s Pops use tarragon for this pop, but basil worked beautifull here, too. To make simple syrup, combine 2/3 cup each of sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is transparent. Let cool. Recipe adapted from People’s Pops by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz.
1 pound plums (3 to 4 large or 8 to 9 small), halved
1 cup simple syrup
2 to 3 sprigs fresh basil
2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Place the plums cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast until the skins and flesh are slumped and softened, 20 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, combine the simple syrup and basil in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, and then take the saucepan off the heat. Let the herbs steep in the simple syrup and let it cool. The basil should be fragrant in the syrup. If it’s not, try heating it up gently again with more basil.
Remove the pits from the plums once they are cooled. Place the fruit (and all its syrup released onto the baking sheet!) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and smooth. The whipped-up plums become kind of frothy, but feel free to let the mixture be a bit more textured.
Strain the basil out of the infused simple syrup, squeezing the herbs over the pan to extract all the juice. Transfer the puréed plums to a measuring cup with a spout (about 2 cups capacity will do). Stir in the simple syrup and lemon juice until the ingredients are combined. Taste the mixture and adjust if necessary. It should be sweet as any sweetness dulls after the pops are frozen. Swirl in the yogurt (a sweeter vanilla yogurt helps ensure the pops are sweet).
Pour the mixture into the ice pop molds, leaving a bit of room at the top for the mixture to expand, and stopping to swirl in a bit more yogurt here and there for more color contrast in the pops. Insert sticks now if your mold has a top to hold them in place (if not, do so after about an hour or two) and freeze until the pops are solid, 4 to 5 hours. Release the pops by submerging the plastic mold part (not the top!) in warm water. Serve immediately or place individual pops in plastic bags and store in the freezer.
Makes 10 pops.