I’d not eaten a popsicle since I was in single figures til making this one. Adults eat ice creams don’t they?
Malta to the UK and back in one very busy week that seemed to have as much packed in and be as long as two-week holiday. One day alone saw us horse ride, eat an amazing lunch at an 18th century coaching inn, visit Riveaulx Abbey, one of the North’s most spectacular ruins, and then make a pitstop to hack vertically uphill to a beauty spot dotted with weird geological formations. Had it been raining of course, we’d not have managed so much outdoorsy living in one day. The UK is basking in heatwave temps, incredibly. I read that UK supermarkets have noticed a distinct surge in ‘shoppers’ lingering over the freezer chest aisles (which are darn freezing even with a winter coat on!); now that’s a first for the UK! Thank you jet stream!
Usually the temperature change is a shock, flying either way, once the cabin door opens. Not this time. In my wildest dreams I’d not expected North Yorkshire to be hovering around 27+ degrees for a whole week, and the UK’s heatwave continues unabated for a good week more. In fact, on arrival back in Malta, the only difference I noticed was the humidity. Now, that is a killer! Dry heat, even a bit over overcast sultriness is survivable. But humidity is totally draining. Take a shower, then dry yourself wet is par for the course in humid weather in Malta. Since showers provide little relief when it’s this dire, the best solution is to drink, eat, sip and slurp ice cold anything from the freezer, even it’s only a fleeting moment and probably more imaginary heat relief than real.
I remember loving the fruit juice lollies my mother would make. I’d suck the colour out – orange, raspberry or whatever – then crunch the transparent ice, or what was just about clinging still to the stick. My mum would make her own, and occasionally, when she was caught out by a sudden day or two of rising temps, we’d hoof it to the local sweet shop for an ice pop – those sticks of fruit ice in a long vacuum-packed bag. Ice creams serve a purpose as more decadent and perhaps more flavoursome iced desserts but when it comes to refreshing, instant hydration, the ice lolly or popsicle, holds its own. As a compromise to my more adult taste buds, I did a half and half kind of popsicle; one that has fruity zest and creamy ice creaminess as well.
Watermelon season is in full swing. Although it is perfect as a natural popsicle, icy chill from the bottom of the fridge, full of juicy crunchiness, I decided to hack a small piece off to experiment with. A can of coconut milk and a coconut purchased before we went away provided the creaminess I was looking for, and a smooth complement to the crunchy pink. A lush lolly rather than just an ice lolly.
This creamy popsicle is adult enough for a dinner dessert. And nothing beats a popsicle for a nostalgic trip down the memory lane of summers past.
All images © Liz Ayling 2013
- 250g watermelonprint button transparent
- 80g caster sugar
- 400g tin of coconut milk
- 50g desiccated coconut
- zest of a green lemon or a lime
- 60g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
- Carve watermelon out of its skin, chop into cubes and mash up with a potato masher or fork. Sieve the mashed watermelon to remove the pips getting as much of the flesh through as possible. Stir in the caster sugar.
- Place the icing sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and whisk the coconut milk in gradually, making sure all dry lumps are dissolved. Heat the mixture over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the mix thickens up. Remove from the heat, add the desiccated coconut and lemon or lime zest and allow to cool, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin forming.
- If making 3 stripes in the popsicle, divide the watermelon liquid into two parts and stir in well around 6 tbsps of the cooled coconut to one part of the watermelon liquid so it’s a light pink. Add only around 2-3 tablespoons of coconut mix to the other part of watermelon so it remains a deeper pink but slightly creamy. This is a rough guide so work out how light or dark, creamy or fruit juicy you wish your popsicle.
- To make up the popsicles, place some on the light pink watermelon mix in the bottom of each mould. Place in the freezer for around ¾ hr, then pop in the lolly stick (I used little forks as had no sticks, so be inventive). Add the next layer of deep pink watermelon liquid and continue to freeze for around 2 hours. Finally, add the pure coconut mix and continue to freeze, ideally overnight.
- To serve, dunk moulds briefly in hot water to loosen the popsicles. To posh them up for parties (kids’ or adults’) serve on a bed of ice cubes with more lemon zest, dried coconut and watermelon slices.