In the lush damp heat of summer, frozen treats call out to child and adult alike. Anything to alleviate the oppressive heat that pushes through the cracks in the windows, defying fans and air conditioners, laughing as it maintains dominion over the sweaty human masses. But so many of these treats are born of false coloring and high fructose corn syrup, and soon they collapse, falling in gooey glops to the searing ground below, creating a sticky film of goo over the hands on the way down. But what of… frozen fruit? Pure, unadulterated, no colorings or flavorings born of a laboratory in New Jersey, just honest straightforward fruit. A quick whirl in a blender, the right childish popsicle molds, a few hours in the freezer, and you have a treat that not only helps abate some of the sticky damp of summer, but satiates the never-ending fruit cravings that result in fridges bursting with fruit, saving some of these sweet denizens of fructus vitae from a composting end. Bright mango, certainly not native to the local clime of Illinois, but a fruit that exudes tropical warm weather with its faintly flowery scent and rich sweetness, and bright tart lime, the perfect counterpart to the bright orange flesh, are whirled together into an impossibly creamy pulp. Plump blueberries bursting with their own sweetness are next, paired with a bit of savory basil, a surprisingly good combination. The puree turns a deep purple, and one can almost divine the future in the quivering dark depths. The two are swirled together, refusing to neatly swirl, but instead getting all twisted up together, the bright array of flavor dancing cheek-to-cheek. A few hours in the freezer, and voila… for a few minutes, the heat abates.
* A quick note:
Somewhere else in this blog I have stated that I am not a cook, just a wild experimenter, and most of these recipes are, in fact, first or second runs, based on research, past experience, etc. Which means that they are far from perfect. So I am going to start adding notes about what did not work for me. And start adding failures, as a warning to all…
Mango-Lime-Blueberry-Basil Ice Pops (this made four, using about 1 1/4 cups of actual fruit puree)
(inspired by Mark Bittman’s recent article here)
2 large ripe mangoes with as much flesh removed as you can
Juice of 1 lime (and zest, if you wish)
generous half cup blueberries, washed
4 large basil leaves, torn roughly by hand
In food processor, whirl together the mango and lime until it is a smooth puree. Pour into measuring cup, rinse out processor, throw blueberries and basil in, whirl into a pulp. This will require stopping to scrape down the sides every so often. Add to the mango puree. Attempt to beautifully mix this so it will swirl together. Fail, realize it will still be pretty and tasty, pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least four hours. Unmold, realize the rocket pop molds you bought on sale at the kitchen store have one interesting design point that makes you blush. Make a note to find other molds should you ever have to serve these around teenagers. Or, frankly, your own friends.
Notes: While the flavors of the individual fruit purees were lovely on their own, and even in raw form, in freezing much of the subtly goes away and is lost when you actually eat the dang thing. My next round will be simplified, concentrating on one flavor, not four. Also, I went with pure fruit and did not add sugar. This was fine, but there were a lot of ice crystals I did not particularly like. I am not particularly sure of the process behind making those crystals smaller or less apparent, but by gum be assured I will be doing some research. And now I need to eat one of these. You know, for testing purposes.