Search This Blog

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Worth the Bother?

This creamy popsicle is reminiscent of Bananas Foster.
Asado Paleta Plátano 
I discovered this recipe for baked banana ice pops in Paletas by Fany Gerson.  I had made paletas previously with bananas as an ingredient and on reading these instructions, I wondered "Why bother?"  Bananas are naturally sweet and squishy when ripe; what could be enhanced by adding extra steps?  In the wilderness wander of the last eight months, I have searched for purpose, wrestling with the "whys?" in life.  That's how the bananas got roasted.  

To say they look unappetizing coming out of the oven would be flattering.  The skin turns an unappealing shade of brown and they weep a thin milky liquid that escapes the foil wrapping.  The bananas must be cooled before adding cream, sugar, cinnamon and rum.  Compared to the usual procedure of cutting fresh fruit and simply adding a bit of sugar and lime, these paletas asados del plátano are a pain to prepare.  What could compel when a shortcut would do?

In extending hospitality, a hostess gifts guests with attention to their needs.  Food preferences are noted and in pursuing a visitor's pleasure, few recipes are too complex to be dismissed.  Like the bananas in this method, I've experienced heat and tears while cooking under pressure of dinner guests, but purpose is present in the delights I create for company in Cindy's Cozy Kitchen.  Grace is extended when guests are nurtured.  Tasters realize roasted banana paletas represent love on a popsicle stick.   That's why I bother.

Fill Molds and Add Cinnamon Stick

Roasted Banana Paleta Recipe
adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson

3- 4 ripe bananas
1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 t pure vanilla extract
1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 T dark rum (optional)
6 cinnamon sticks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap the bananas with skin still on individually in foil.  Roast until cooked through and soft, about 30 minutes.

Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Put the flesh of bananas in a bowl and mash lightly with a fork.  Add brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the banana mixture in Cuisinart with milk, cream, vanilla, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and rum.  Pulse until smooth.  Cool slightly and refrigerate until chilled.  Pour into molds, freeze 1 1/2 hours until mixture thickens, insert cinnamon sticks.  Freeze 4-6 hours total.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunset Slowdown

One discovered delight of time apart is a pace which allows taking note of creation.  On these blazing summer days, I'm often outdoors at dawn and in the evening I sit on the patio watching for wildlife in the woods beyond our boundary of backyard azaleas, lulled by peaceful cicada song.  I chill with a frozen treat and bring a book to read in last light until the fireflies begin to twinkle.  This tropical sunset paleta seems apropos for an evening's indulgence.  

Tropical Sunset Paletas Recipe
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine
3 cups pineapple
6 T sugar, divided
3 cups strawberries, hulled
3 mangoes, peeled and pitted
1 lime, juiced

In a Cuisinart combine pineapple and 2 T sugar.  Blend until smooth.  Pour through fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with a spoon.  Catch puree in bowl.  Rinse Cuisinart, repeat process with strawberries, adding 2 T sugar, pressing solids through a fine mesh sieve, catch strawberry puree.  In rinsed Cuisinart, combine mangoes, 2 T sugar and lime juice, blend until smooth, pour through sieve and catch puree.

Divide pineapple puree among 6 small plastic cups.   Freeze until set about 1 hour, insert sticks.  Pour strawberry layer over pineapple layer, return to freezer until set, about 45 minutes.  Remove from freezer, top with mango layer and freeze 4-6 hours. Any fruit you favor can be substituted in this layered paleta.
Layered Flavors Pineapple and Strawberry
Puesta del Sol Tropical Paleta

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Drunken Cherry Paletas

Paletas de Crema y Cereza con Tequila

What a delight to find specks of vanilla bean in the creamy base of this paleta along with sweet fresh cherries.  A kick of tequila is thrown in for the finish and the flavors are sublime.  This paleta will make your taste buds tipsy!  Like most things we crave, a little tequila gives the perfect punch, but add too much and your paleta won't freeze.

Sour Cream Cherry Paleta Recipe
adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 t lemon juice
2 T silver tequila
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
1 vanilla bean split 
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Place cherries and powdered sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.  Lower heat, add lemon juice, cook and stir until thickened to maple syrup consistency.  Remove from heat, stir in tequila, refrigerate until completely chilled.  
Drain cherries, combine milk, granulated sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the mixture and add pod.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.  
Remove from heat, add sour cream and blend with a whisk until smooth.  Discard vanilla bean pod and refrigerate mixture until thoroughly chilled.  Place about 1 inch of sour cream mixture into each mold and freeze for about 40 minutes, or until set.  Divide cherries among molds, pour in the remaining sour cream mixture and add sticks.  Freeze 4-6 hours.