Technically, we aren’t supposed to call them “popsicles.” That’s a registered trademark. But ice pops, creamy pops made with milk or yogurt, and other fruity desserts-on-a-stick are having a moment. You’re probably seeing them pop up on your Instagram feed, in bright colors, made with orange and mango and filled with pieces of fruit.
Lil’ Pop Shop in Rittenhouse is turning out creamy pops with coconut hibiscus, matcha, and Craig LaBan’s favorite Vietnamese coffee. This week, owner Jeanne Chang is featuring a $4 limited-edition tri-colored strawberry, lemon, and blueberry pop that can be preordered for pickup.
Over in Fishtown, Suraya is serving dessert-style pops, including strawberries and cream with sumac, and a creme caramel on its garden menu for $6.
Because pops are versatile and easy to make, it’s worth it to try them at home, says baking and dessert blogger Vallery Lomas.
You need only fruit juice, or iced tea, and whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. You can add milk, cream, chocolate or even the last of that swig of St. Germain or bourbon if that’s what it takes to cool off.
Lomas recently posted an Instagram video class for her blueberry, Greek yogurt, and coconut milk pops.
“I started making popsicles because I lived in an apartment with no air-conditioning,” Lomas said. “I like them for a summertime breakfast or snack because I can control what’s in it. I get good fat from the yogurt and it keeps me full.”
Ice pops also a make a good cooking project for kids, allowing them to combine fruits, even though freezing and unmolding time do require a bit of patience.
Pops are also great for serving at a social distance. Just grab a stick and keep it moving.
Molds: You can find ice pop molds at home goods stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond for about $13. To remove the pops from the molds, run hot water over the mold just until the pop releases. Once the pops are removed, return them to the freezer briefly to set.
Storage: Don’t store the pops in the molds because you’ll have a hard time removing them. Instead, put them in zipper bags where they will keep about two weeks.
Instagram-worthy pops: Get your pops ready for social posts by adding extra fruit or even edible flowers to the mold before pouring in the liquid. Lomas says you can make pops pretty by giving them a garden atmosphere using lavender sprigs or lemon thyme leaves. “If I was having a socially distant backyard party, I would serve beautiful popsicles,” she said.
Fruit pops: You’ll need about 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup of orange or apple juice or and 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, honey, or other sweetener. Puree the ingredients in a blender, then pour into molds. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to preserve the color of peaches and mango.
Creamy pops: A cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of milk can serve as the base for creamy pops. Feel free to use coconut water, soy, or almond milk. You can add whole fruit to this base, or put all the ingredients into a blender and puree, then pour into molds.
Layered pops: Let each layer of fruit puree or creamy pop mixture set in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before adding the next flavor. Be sure to keep other purees refrigerated while layers are setting.
This ice pop recipe can be adapted for any fruit you have on hand. You can also add lime or coconut. For pretty pops, drop thin slices of lemon and lime into the mold before adding liquid.
Makes about 10 pops
3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
Using a saucepan, dissolve sugar into water, stirring continuously. Add juice and zest and bring to a simmer. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool. Taste and adjust sweetener, if needed.
Pour lemon mixture into molds, add sticks and freeze for 6 hours.
Makes about 10 pops
Any fruit you have on hand can be made into a creamy pop. For a mocha version, replace fruit with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of espresso powder. For a refreshing floral pop, use honey and replace fruit with a pinch of culinary lavender.
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup whole, coconut, soy, or almond milk
¼ cup sugar or honey (to taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Using a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides, if necessary. Taste and adjust sweetener.