The insane heat that’s been turning New Yorkers into raving lunatics (more so than usual) has one positive outcome: I’m motivated to perfect my popsicle-making technique. Icy fruit pops are all I want to eat when it’s still 90 degrees in my apartment at 9 p.m., and the new People’s Pops cookbook (er, freezebook?) from the Brooklyn-based popsicle makers of the same name provides me with the tools to keep cool, without shelling out $3-$5 at a time for artisanal ices. I’ve been trying a new batch every Sunday, according to whatever little jewels arrive in my weekly CSA delivery. Here are a few great lessons I’ve learned so far.
Raid the pantry. You can add additional flavors to your pops easily just by steeping any herbs, spices, or even teas in your simple syrup. I’m finding new life for the Indian spices that have been languishing in the back of my cabinets: Crushed cardamom pods and whole cloves made my recent blueberry pops transcendent, and this week’s strawberry pops are killer with black pepper and cinnamon.
Use delicious fruit. We hear it ad infinitum: Don't cook with wine that’s not good enough to drink. The same goes for icy treats: Better fruit makes a better pop. The fruit doesn’t need to be pretty – you’re going to puree it anyway – so grab the bruised seconds from the farmer’s market. It will be sweeter and juicier anyhow.
Blend, blend, blend. This may be more of a personal preference, but my initial inclination to leave the fruit pops chunky made for crystal-y, icy pops that didn’t pack much flavor. Now I’m pureeing the heck out of my fruit and the results are silky, smooth pops with evenly distributed sweetness.
This book is changing my life. Maybe I’m even saving on air conditioning costs too.
Related: Best Popsicles