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How to Make Unbelievable Mexican Ice Pops (Paletas)

I’ve just recently been introduced to the wonders of the Mexican ice pop (paletas).  For the uninitiated, I’m not talking about sickly sweet Mr. Freezies here.  These are serious culinary creations worthy of their own celebration.


The word paletas come from the root palo, which means “stick”, which refers to the wooden stick that is frozen into the flavorful juices, fruits and creams.  They are a traditional Mexican street food, and found in paleterias, little shops that specialize in them all over Mexico.  Well known in Latin American communities, paletas have only started showing up on the more mainstream North American foodie radar in the last 10 years or so.


The best part about them is that there is really something for everyone.  On one hand there are refreshing, water-based paletas like cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, grapefruit, and lime.  Or, there are the cream-based, rich and decadent paletas like chocolate, coconut, and caramel.  And then there are the more unusual or savory paletas that unexpectedly delight the senses like dill pickle, avocado, tamarind, cucumber, and hibiscus tea.


Once you get the hang of making your own paletas, you can start mixing and matching the ingredients for your own personal flavor twist.  Try Greek yogurt instead of cream.  Try spiking your creations with rum or beer.  And don’t forget to experiment with the addition of bits of fresh fruit, spices, and fresh herbs as well.  For example, one particularly good combination is cucumber, lime and chile pepper.  (YUM! – see recipe here.)


Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas FrescasIf you need further inspiration, take a look at Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas for some amazing and unique recipes straight from Fany Gerson, the owner of the paleta company, La Newyorkina.


A great paletas mold will be your friend as you try your hand at creating something special for your family and friends.  You can go for a good, basic, plastic model like the Tovolo Yellow Groovy Ice Pop Molds.  There is also a Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold that looks good by Onyx.  And if you want your treat in a hurry, try the Zoku Quick Pop Maker (it actually makes ice pops in 7 minutes!).


Tip:  Do not overfill your mold!  Paletas will expand as they freeze so be sure to leave a bit of space near the top (about 1/4″-1/2″ depending on how liquid the consistency).


Just remember to always use fresh ingredients, preferably in season, to get the best results for your paletas.  Now go and enjoy a true taste of Mexican summer!


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