Summer always arrives super fashionably late here in the Pacific Northwest. She takes the scenic, scenic route and doesn’t show her sunny face until the eleventh hour on the Fourth of July. But when she gets here, all tops break loose and we PN’ers just lose it.
Paletas are my way of welcoming Sister Summer to this here neck of the woods, and encouraging her to kick off her flippie floppies and staying a while.
These paletas just very well might.
But, before we get to that, a little Latin American culture lesson for those who aren’t (quite yet) in the know:
Paletas are awesome little ice pops originally born out of Michoacán, Mexico. The name can roughly be translated to “little shovels” or “little sticks” — referencing those flat, little sticks frozen into each. Their typical main ingredient is fruit and are either milk or water-based.
But paletas are anything but typical, and they aren’t your run-of-the-mill, get-me-to-the-grocer’s-frozen-food-section-and-grab-me-a-box-to-go pops.
They rock, and you don’t have to live in a Hispanic community or fly to Latin America to find them. You can make them yourself. And, I promise, with a little fortitude and some ground cardamom, you’ll love, love, love ‘em.
We start off with bananas, sweet, bananas. And though mine weren’t, here’s a secret: the nastier and blacker-looking the banana, the better.
Next comes wrapping those little ‘naners all nice and snug and popping them in the oven to roast for a while.
After coming out and cooling a bit, comes the scooping-all-the-roasted-yumminess-out-and-mushing-in-a-bowl-with-some-sweetness part.
Okay, this is where it gets a little hard. Roasted banana guts look g-r-o-s-s gross. They don’t smell all that hot either. But I urge you to dig deep and just think about how delish these will be when you’re done — p-r-o-m-i-s-e promise.
Woot, you made it! It’s easy day, and super skate from here on out. Next, comes adding all that creamy, spicy goodness to the mushed bananas and mixing well.
Then pop in the fridge to cool completely.
Pour the delicious goodness into the popsicle molds (almost done!)…
…and after just a few hours in the freezer, out come the creamiest, tastiest pops you’ve ever had.
Sister Summer just called. Looks like she’s staying.
Roasted Banana and Cardamom Paletas
Adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson
Makes six paletas
3 super ripe bananas — the more black, the better
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt
One – six popscicle / ice pop plastic mold set — preferably BPA-free
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare the bananas. Wrap unpeeled bananas individually in foil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet, leaving about an inch or two distance between them. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until bananas are cooked through and soft.
Remove from oven and let sit until just warm. Using a small serving spoon, gently push through peel of each banana and scoop the flesh out into a large bowl. Discard peels and mash bananas with wire whisk or potato masher until thoroughly mashed.
Add the light brown sugar and turbinado sugar into the mixture, and stir well until dissolved.
Add the milk, half and half, vanilla, lemon juice, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
Let the mixture cool at room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap.
Place into the refrigerator until completely chilled, or overnight.
Pour and divide the cooled mixture into ice pop molds and freeze for at least 5 hours.
When ready to serve, remove paletas from freezer and run hot water over bottom of mold to loosen. Serve alone or with wild blueberry crumble, as shown served above.
- In Brooklyn, Icy Mexican Treats (nytimes.com)