Happy Popsicle Week everybody! The timing couldn't be better, now that I've pulled all my molds out of the closet and it's actually in the 70s in SF and the sun is blazing, which means it feels like summer if I close my eyes and stand in a non-shady, non-windy spot for longer than 5 minutes. Or, walk up a hill. That will get me ready for a popsicle in a jiffy, so bring on the inspo!
I'm especially excited to join in on Popsicle Week this year after I missed the boat for 2015. I made sure to sign up this year, which makes me feel a little more legitimate, or something, or whatever that means for an inclusive, anybody can join, let's just celebrate popsicles on our blogs kind of thing. It's not like I committed a crime or anything with last year's "bandit" contribution, but this is way more fun! I feel so social.
So, shave ice popsicles! There may be nary a flake of ice or paper cone in sight, I know, but trust me, the flavors of a real Hawaiian bowl of shave ice are all right here in these popsicles. My first shave ice ever was in January at Matsumoto on the North Shore, a gigantic mound of snow flavored with guava, papaya, and liliko'i (aka Hawaiian passion fruit), all sitting on top of ice cream and azuki beans. It was insanely sweet, but also incredibly refreshing in the heat. It also truly spoiled me for shave ice, as I learned from a recent, awful example of the genre at Epcot, where I spent five fruitless minutes trying to chip at a solid ball of barely-flavored ice and wondering why it was missing the condensed milk I had paid extra for.
To right that horrible wrong done to me by Disney, I decided to try to recreate that first wonderful version, but not possessing a shave ice machine, I thought it might be easier to shove all the elements into popsicle molds and call it a day. Layers of mango (found in my produce section marked "guava", I went with it), passion fruit, papaya, vanilla ice cream, and azuki beans all come together in these popsicles for a less sweet, more messy, shave-ice inspired creation that hits all the tangy, tart, creamy, and sweet notes you could ever want in a popsicle, with a little chew from the azuki beans to give it a little extra something. I have to admit, I was only about 50% sure these would work out, and I went into a cold sweat pulling them out of the molds, but I am super pleased with how they came out. They aren't the cleanest looking pops, but I love the way the ice cream is sort of swirled all around the outside, mixing with all the fruit flavors, and the colors just make me happy. I'm calling the win with a treat that can tide me over until my next Hawaiian vacation.
Check out all the other popsicles over on Wit & Vinegar!
"Shave Ice" Popsicles
There are a lot of layers to these pops, so they take a bit of patience, but they are worth it in the end, I think.
For the popsicles:
- 1 cup mango, peeled and diced
- 1 cup papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 cup passion fruit seeds (from about 3 passion fruits)
- 3 tbs sugar, divided
- sea salt
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened, divided
- 1/4 cup sweet azuki beans, or more (recipe below)
For the sweet azuki beans (recipe from Cynthia at Two Red Bowls via Food52)
- 1/4 cup dry azuki beans, soaked overnight
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- scant 1/3 cup sugar
- Start the beans. Rinse the soaked beans and add to a pot with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 and a half hours, until beans are very tender. You may need to add water as you go. Once beans are tender, add the 1/3 cup sugar and enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, until liquid has reduced into a thick syrup. Remove from heat and let cool completely. This step can be done a day or two before.
- Make the mango puree: In a blender, combine mango, 1/8 cup plus 1 tbs water, 1 tbs sugar and a pinch of sea salt and puree until smooth. If mixture seems very thick add a splash of water and puree again. Divide puree evenly between 10 popsicle molds, tap the mold on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Transfer to the freezer to set a bit.
- Make the passionfruit puree. Rinse out the blender and then add the passion fruit seeds, 1/8 cup water, and 1 tbs sugar (or more if desired, passion fruit is very very tart). Blend to combine and then divide among the popsicle molds, on top of the mango layer. Transfer molds to the freezer to set.
- Make papaya puree. Rinse the blender again and then add the papaya, 1/8 cup plus 1 tbs water, 1 tbs sugar and a pinch of sea salt and puree to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Once mango and passionfruit layers have set enough, divide 1/2 cup of the ice cream among the molds, tap molds on the counter to remove air bubbles, and return to the freezer to set.
- Once first ice cream layer has set, divide 1/4 cup sweet beans among the molds and top with the remaining ice cream. Again, tap the molds on the counter a few times to set.
- Spoon the papaya mixture evenly among the 10 molds. Each mold should be filled almost to the top at this point. Cover the molds with the lid and insert popsicle sticks as far down as you can, ideally all the way through the ice cream layer and into the passion fruit layer if possible.
- Return to the freezer and freeze until completely solid, overnight is best. To serve, remove molds from freezer, dip in warm water and carefully pull out the popsicles.
- I used the ice cream and azuki beans in these pops to mimic the flavors I ate in Hawaii, but you could omit the beans and add mochi, or do all fruit and swirl in a bit of condensed milk, or drizzle the pops with condensed milk. The variations are endless, really.