Have you tried paletas (Mexican popsicles)? Paletas are popsicles made with real fruits and a few other basic ingredients. There are two varieties, water based and cream based. Most of them are made with water, like watermelon, pineapple and guava. Some are made with milk and cream. Just like today’s recipe, these strawberry pops are creamy and sweet. They are unlike most fruit pops which are frozen solid like ice. Instead they are little soft that you can easily bite into. It is almost like eating ice cream on a stick. OH YEA!
I had my very first paleta at my in-laws’ home many years ago. Paletas are sold by street vendors in heavily populated hispanic neighborhoods. My in-laws live in South Los Angeles and that is the house where Bryan grew up in. If you know Los Angeles area, you would know South LA isn’t the ideal part of town. Trash piles up along the side walks and streets. Gang graffiti can be easily spotted on street signs, stores and schools. Police helicopters are flying over head all the time. Streets are closed often due to police activities. One of our friends, who is from in another state, always says that she would love to check out that part of Los Angeles. We always tell her, “you really don’t want to… It really has nothing to good to see.” The lucky thing was that my in-laws enrolled Bryan in good schools in other city. Other than home, Bryan didn’t stay around the neighborhood much. After college, Bryan has moved out of South LA. But of course, we visit his parents often.
I asked Bryan if he can point out a few cool things of living in South LA. “Fireworks and street vendors.” Yup, we used to play fireworks in the front yard on 4th of July. Kids come out to the streets and pop all different kinds of fireworks. Fun, but at the same time, dangerous. It was quite an experience. For street vendors, they go around the neighborhoods with their little carts. You can get all these tasty stuffs, like cold paletas, hot sweet corns, and crispy chicharron (fried pork skin). Paletas are no doubt Bryan’s favorite! Strawberry, coconut, watermelon and mango are some of the top picks. Nowadays, you can easily find paletas in most grocery stores in Los Angeles. We no longer need to wait for the street vendors to come around. And of course, you can make them at home too! Get a taste of the street food at the comfort of your home!
Paletas de Fresas (Mexican Strawberry Popsicles)
- 8 ounces fresh strawberry (rinsed and hulled)
- 1½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Set aside 3 strawberries.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the rest of the strawberries. Strain the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard the seeds.
- In the same food processor or blender, add ½ cup milk and sugar. Process until the sugar has dissolved completely, about 1 minute. Add to the puree.
- In the same food processor or blender, roughly blend the reserved 3 strawberries into ¼-inch pieces. Pour into the puree.
- In the puree bowl, add the rest of the milk and heavy cream. Mix well. Fill the popsicle molds with strawberry mixture. If using molds that contain sticks or hold wooden ones in place, put on lids and freeze. If using open cup molds, freeze until beginning to set, about 2 hours, then insert the sticks and put back in freezer.
- After about 8 hours, popsicles are ready. If the popsicles are stuck in the molds, dip the molds in warm water for 10 seconds or so. Remove molds and serve.
- The strawberry pieces will give the popsicles a beautiful look and little texture. If you don’t really care for that, just puree all the strawberries together.
- For storage: Place a wax paper around the popsicle and put in a Ziploc bag. They can be kept for at least a week or two in the freezer. (Maybe even longer.)