Make These Prickly Pear Paletas Before Summer's Over
Nothing says summer like frozen desserts, and this week's episode of Mad Genius: Home Edition has the perfect treat for combating humidity. Food & Wine Culinary Director at Large Justin Chapple whips up paletas, Mexican ice pops made with fresh fruit, featuring prickly pears (also known as cactus pears). He combines the fruit with fresh lime juice and light agave nectar for subtly sweet results. All-in-all, the frozen treat requires just five ingredients—three, if you don't count salt and water.
Read on for the recipe and follow along with the video above so you can learn how to make them at home.
Prep Your Prickly Pears
First thing's first—you need to make sure the thorns and peel are removed from your prickly pears, and then you can cut them up. Justin demonstrates the technique (gloves are a good idea here) for removing the peel, and then dices the fruit into chunks.
Blend and Strain
Add the prickly pear to a blender along with the fresh lime juice, cold water, light agave nectar, and finally, kosher salt. Start the blender on low and purée the mixture until it's smooth—then, strain it through a fine wire-mesh strainer to remove any pulp and seeds.
Pour and Freeze
Take the strained liquid and pour it into your ice pop molds, leaving a little room at the top—as Justin notes, the liquid expands when it freezes. You'll want to freeze them until they're firm, at least four hours or preferably overnight.
After the paletas have had enough time in the freezer, you're all set to eat them. Justin grabs a glass of hot tap water and briefly dunks each ice pop mold in it so the paletas are easier to remove. They emerge smooth and vibrantly colored.
"It's just like subtly sweet because we added that agave, and then of course the prickly pears are not super-sweet themselves," he says after trying one. "But it has that like, signature prickly pear flavor. Prickly pear is likely to be my favorite new paleta."