For all the people who felt left out after last week’s cat popsicle post – after all, the heat is hard on us humans, too – these roasted plum, strawberry and creamy coconut popsicles are for you. It seems like most of the country has been sweltering under the same heat wave as we have, so most of you know how I feel right now: my hair is sticky, my face is sticky and the air feels as thick and hot as soup. As such, eating soup, or anything else that requires turning on the stove for long periods of time, is out of the question. Our old electric range will be a great radiant heater come winter, but for now it’s just not possible to turn it on passed 9 am without making the whole apartment roast.
I don’t want to use the heat as an excuse to fill up on things that can be eaten straight out of the package, though. Eating super-processed ice cream was starting to sound pretty darn appealing, so I figured I should hurry and make something refreshing and sweet before I caved into the refined sugar dairy monster. Luckily for me, I had everything I needed on hand to make these wonderfully creamy, naturally sweetened and seasonally flavored popsicles. In fact, I based the recipe on what I had in my cupboard already (seriously, I needed something sweet with urgency) and it’s a flexible enough recipe that you can do the same. Any stone fruit or berry would work beautifully using the same basic recipe. Peach and blueberry, blackberry and nectarines, the possibilities are endless!
Popsicles I’ve made in the past have turned out disappointingly icy. Instead of a creamy, frozen yogurt texture, they’re more like ice pops that can’t be bitten into. This time, I tried a couple approaches to reducing the water content and I’m happy to say they worked! First, I used coconut cream instead of the coconut milk that many recipes call for. The coconut-to-water ratio in coconut cream is much higher than coconut milk – think 20% water content in coconut cream versus 50% water in coconut milk – which makes for a luxuriously creamy and much softer pop. Fruit contains a lot of water too, so roasting the fruit is a means to remove some of that moisture. It doesn’t hurt that roasting brings out even more sweetness in the fruit, so it comes out of the oven as tender and tasty as pie filling. Roasting doesn’t take long, so you can get it over with early in the morning with the windows open, and still keep your home nice and cool.
Every year around this time, P’s parents’ plum trees are flush with plump, dusty purple fruit. They brought over a big bag of them the other day, and I first thought about making a big batch of plum-orange butter like I did last year. I ended up canning it and giving it out at Christmas and would have loved to do that again, but that would have meant hours standing over a hot burner. So, into the popsicles they went! I had a pint of strawberries on the counter that I decided to throw into the mix, too.
To top it all off, I added a drizzle of my dad’s honey to the fruit and the coconut cream. His hives are right next to a blackberry patch, and you can actually taste a hint of blackberry in the popsicles. If you don’t happen to have a beekeeper in your family, I highly recommend sampling some honey at your local farmer’s market and taking home the tastiest one to use in your pops if you want to take them from really delicious to over the top amazing.
- 1 15 oz. can of coconut cream
- 1 lbs. plums and strawberries (or other stone fruit or berries of your choice)
- A few Tbs. honey (substitute maple syrup if you're vegan)
- A couple pinches of salt
- Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
- Slice fruit in half, remove pits and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of honey over the fruit and sprinkle with the salt. Roast 15-20 minutes or until fruit is soft. Reduce time for very delicate berries.
- Blend the fruit in a blender until puréed. If you have a high speed blender you can leave the skin on the plums. Otherwise, remove the skin.
- Whisk two Tbs. honey into the coconut cream.
- For layered popsicles, pour the fruit and coconut cream into popsicle molds in alternating layers. For segmented layers that don't run together, freeze 10-15 minutes between each layer. For blended pops, whisk the fruit and coconut cream together and pour into the molds.
- Freeze 30 minutes then insert popsicle sticks. Return to the freezer until frozen through, 4-5 hours.