Thursday, November 14, 2013
ROASTED STRAWBERRY AND TOASTED COCONUT POPSICLES
I know, it’s not strawberry season for most of you, and it’s not popsicle weather either, and this picture is kinda crappy. (Popsicles turn out to be surprisingly difficult to photograph, especially when they’re melting—it actually was popsicle weather way back when I made these—and I really want to eat the subject. Hunger is my number-one obstacle to becoming a better food photographer.) But I had to share, because popsicles! I made them! And they were delicious. So you’ll just have to bookmark this for next summer.
When I was a kid, my mom used to make pudding pops (from Jell-O boxed pudding mix; pistachio was my favorite) in Tupperware molds. (These, to be precise.) Periodically I’ve seen fancy foodie popsicle recipes on blogs and in magazines and thought about making them, but it never seemed worth buying special equipment for. Popsicles are refreshing and all, but I’ll happily pass them over for ice cream. Then I won some popsicle molds (these, to be precise) in some random departmental contest at my old job…and promptly shoved them into a deep back corner of the cupboard and forgot about them for nearly a year, until I spotted this recipe at Joy the Baker. Roasted strawberries and toasted coconut? Hold the damn phone.
Why didn’t anyone tell me popsicles could be this good? They’re a snap to make but don’t taste like anything you can buy at the store: creamy coconut milk with toasty coconut shreds, rich red strawberry concentrated via roasting, not too much sweetness and just a hint of lime for contrast. This immediately launched a popsicle obsession for me, but none of the other recipes I’ve tried so far have held a candle to this one.
Trader Joe’s only sells a light coconut milk, which works well for most uses but would have been too icy when frozen, so I tried TJ’s coconut cream instead and it was fantastic for this purpose, thick and rich with a purer flavor than any other coconut milk I’ve had. I also used TJ’s shredded coconut, which is only mildly sweetened, far less sugary than the Baker’s stuff. I daresay you could use straight-up unsweetened if you wanted. I had to make this in two half-batches because I only have six popsicle molds, but it was no big deal—I made the full amount of roasted strawberry puree and stored half of it in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days, where it held up just fine until I was ready to make the other popsicles, at which point I concocted the rest of the coconut mixture.
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lime, divided
1 (15-ounce) can whole-fat coconut milk or coconut cream, well shaken
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle coconut onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes (keep a close eye on it). Remove from oven and place coconut in a small bowl to cool.
2. Place strawberries on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven to roast until fragrant and soft, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the strawberries to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and juice of half a lime. Blend until smooth.
3. In a small bowl, stir together coconut milk, remaining lime juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir the toasted coconut into the milk mixture.
4. Dollop a spoonful of strawberry into the bottom of each popsicle mold. Stir coconut milk and add to the popsicle molds, filling them about 2/3 full. Spoon more strawberry into each mold and top with remaining coconut milk.
5. Add popsicle mold sticks and lids. Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
Yields: About 10 popsicles
Time: 40 minutes (plus 6 hours to chill)
Leftover potential: Of course. Ours were eaten within a week, but they should keep in the freezer as long as you like (within reason).