Summer has officially arrived, and with it, the need for treats that are as cool as they are tasty. When Mia, our in-house wild food foraging chef and general magic maker showed me this gorgeous recipe, I knew I had to share it with you.
This beauty is perfectly hydrating, lightly sweet, fit for even the fanciest company (or your children, minus the tequila!) and just a bit naughty.
With a few flourishes and your imagination, you can make these your own using this basic recipe.
Cucumber Mint-Lime Paletas
3 cups, seeded, peeled and roughly chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons (reserved)
1/4 cup raw, washed organic sugar
1 tablespoon honey or brown rice brown syrup (to prevent crystallization)
A few sprigs of fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon agar agar powder or Vegan Jel (to prevent rapid melting, but you may omit)
The zest and juice of 4 limes
1/4 of a small jalapeno, seeded (optional)
A pinch of salt
In a high speed food processor, blend the cucumbers, 2 tablespoons water, mint, lime juice and zest and jalapeño until smooth. Reserve in blender. Add a bit more water if you need to loosen the mixture.
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, honey or rice bran syrup and dissolve over medium high heat. Once dissolved whisk in the agar or Vegan Jel rapidly until dissolved and bring to a boil, then turn off burner and remove from heat. Whisk to cool the mixture for a few minutes.
Pour the warm mixture into the food processor with the other ingredients and blend until very smooth. Pour immediately into molds and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before freezing to prevent crystallization.
The honey or rice bran syrup and agar agar prevent the paletas from crystallizing and melting too quickly and give an unctuous, slightly softer mouth-feel, but aren’t necessary if you prefer an icier pop. Cooling the mixture completely in the fridge before freezing is also key.
*Note: If you are using wooden or bamboo sticks (preferred), soak in water for at least 5 minutes first. This will prevent them from releasing from the paleta in the mold.
My favorite way to enjoy these paletas is with yogurt or dried fruit powder (crushed, dehydrated pineapple or tangerine is available at most natural markets) or cooling yogurt powder (available at specialty gourmet markets).
If you’d like to be ultra decadent (and you do!), drape your frozen wonders in an alcoholic film, finished with a sprinkle of habanero salt.
3/4 cups tequila or infused vodka or gin
2 grams of agar agar powder*
*Agar agar is a natural, seaweed-based thickening agent sold in most health food stores.
In a small saucepan, bring the alcohol and agar to boil over medium high heat, whisking rapidly. Boil for a minute. Once dissolved – and before it thickens, pour the alcohol mixture over a large flat plate or platter and swirl the plate gently so that you have an even, thin layer.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then cut the film with a sharp knife on the plate and gently lift the film pieces off. Place on top of your paleta and enjoy with a squeeze of lime and some good salt.
Get lost in Chef Mia Wasilevich’s world and visionary food at Wild Food Lab.