The Hungry Engineer

A Popsicle by Any Other Name

13 Jun 2010

I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me sooner. I bitch and moan about the heat here every summer, and yet I rarely make frozen desserts of any kind. It took my friendly neighborhood CSA and an excess of basil along with some suggestions from my Twitter friends to convince me that I needed to try my hand at popsicles.

popsicle/ice pop molds

Evidently the word Popsicle is trademarked. You know how we all use Kleenex, but we’re all supposed to refer to them as tissues? Same deal. I’m supposed to be calling them ice pops. Or maybe I can get by with calling them paletas since I’m in Texas? Anyway. No matter what they’re called, I’m totally hooked.

I didn’t really search long and hard for ice pop molds, so take my commentary with a grain of salt. I poked around online till I found a local store that carried them. Turns out my local Bed Bath and Beyond sold a set of six ice pop molds, made by Tovolo, that seemed to fit the bill. They work pretty well, and the base of each mold (what used to be just a simple stick) seems to do a reasonable job of catching errant ice pop melt. For future reference, the total volume of this set of six is roughly 18-20 ounces, depending on how full you fill each mold. (Here’s a link to the same product on Amazon, though it looks like Tovolo makes some other sets that turn out cleverly-shaped ice pops, if that interests you.)

Basil mango ice pops were one of the recommendations I received via Twitter. Since I didn’t want to be the only one eating them (and Sean doesn’t really eat mangos), I decided to to try strawberry basil ice pops instead. I’m discovering more and more that strawberry and basil are two flavors that seem ideally suited to one another, and they married perfectly in this ice pop.

strawberry-basil ice popblackberries and cream ice pop

Then I got the bright idea to make a cream-based ice pop. I blame the Pioneer Woman. She recently posted a recipe for blackberries with sweet cream, and so help me, it sounded like something that would be lovely frozen and on a stick. Sean liked the strawberry-basil ice pops. He loved the blackberries and cream pops. I expect this recipe would work just well substituting peaches or blueberries or strawberries for the blackberries.

popsicle set up


(this fell just shy of enough for my six molds)
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup basil, packed
1 pint strawberries, stemmed and hulled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally till sugar is melted.

Remove from heat, add basil leaves, cover and let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain out basil leaves and combine strawberries, basil-infused syrup, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend till pureed.

Pour puree into cleaned ice pop molds and allow to freeze for at least four hours.

To remove from the mold, let sit in hot water for maybe 10-15 seconds, then gently loosen the plastic mold from the ice pop.

_adapted from [The Pioneer Woman Cooks](
(this was way too much for my six molds, but I don’t care – I refrigerated the leftovers and have been refilling the molds as I empty them)
¾ cup sugar
2 6-ounce packages fresh blackberries (though I’m sure frozen would work too)
1 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat till the sugar has melted and the syrup is simmering. Add blackberries and cook for a few minutes, till the color brightens and they just start to break down.

In a separate saucepan, combine ¼ cup sugar with the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Do not boil this mixture.

With a third saucepan, prepare a double-boiler. (Heat some water in a saucepan till boiling and steaming. The pan and water level should be such that a bowl can sit atop the pan and have its bottom sitting well above the water level.)

Combine the 5 egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a medium-sized bowl (this is the bowl part of your double-boiler) and beat till combined (I used a hand-mixer for this). Add the teaspoon of vanilla and continue beating till air is incorporated into the yolks, and they become light and lemony in color.

Once the cream is thoroughly heated, continue beating the egg yolks and slowly, carefully add the hot cream to them. Once all the cream is incorporated, move the bowl to the double-boiler and gently whisk till the cream is thickened such that it will coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool a bit.

Transfer the blackberry mixture to a blender and puree. My Vitamix does a good job demolishing the blackberry seeds, but for a less excessive blender, if you don’t like the seeds, you may take the time to strain them out.

Add the thickened cream to the blender and mix till homogeneous.

Pour puree into cleaned ice pop molds and allow to freeze for at least four hours.

To remove from the mold, let sit in hot water for maybe 10-15 seconds, then gently loosen the plastic mold from the ice pop. Important note: this doesn’t seem to work nearly as well with the creamy ice pops as it did for the non-creamy ones.

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