Friday, June 24, 2011

Paletas...frozen Mexican Treats!

photo from
As my readers know, I love Cuban food. It's a part of my heritage. And I love Mexican food (actually, more Tex-Mex...from my years of living in Texas). But...with all the many foods I have eaten...prepared...studied...I have never heard of PALETAS (at least not called by this name) until I read an article in the local newspaper food section. 

Paletas are Mexican popsicles. (That's the easy way to describe them). They are made with very ripe, fresh fruits that are pureed (left a bit chunky) and minimally sweetened with sugar or agave. (I am betting that you can substitute stevia or artificial sweetners for the sugar, if needed.) They can be "icy" or made with dairy for a creamier texture (dulce de leche, coconut cream). And spices, such as dried chilis and chipotle chili powder, can be added to the fruit for a little zing. The combinations are endless...WOW! And all you need to make them is a blender or processor (to make the process easier) and ice pop molds or even paper cups and popsicle sticks. What could be easier!!!

Below you will find a few recipes I have discovered online. But recipes are not really needed for this...just use your imagination and your taste buds. What a great way to cool down...and eat your daily fruits!

Pineapple-Chili Paletas (

12-16 oz fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 dried chile guajillo, seeds removed freshly ground
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
1 tablespoon sugar (if needed)
juice of 1 lime

Add 3/4 of the pineapple chunks, all of the pineapple juice, chile guajillo, sugar, lime juice and chipolte powder in blender and pulse until almost smooth. Stir in remaining pineapple chunks. Divide evenly into ice pop molds, leaving a 1/4 inch at the top for expansion. Seal and freeze until solid.

Mango and Chili Paletas

3 cups frozen mango
11/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons lime juice, or the juice of one lime
Put all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the contents from the blender into Popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Makes 8 ice pops.


Strawberry Ice Pops
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let sit until strawberries start releasing natural juices, 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat, simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth; alternatively, you could leave some chunks in if you like.
If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using glasses or unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (11/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow manufacturer's instructions.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson (Ten Speed Press, 2010) and St Pete Times

Watermelon Paletas

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
11/2 pounds peeled and diced watermelon (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch of salt

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour the syrup into a blender. Add the watermelon, lime juice and salt and blend until smooth.
If using the conventional molds, divide mixture among the molds, snap on the lid, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until sold, 4 to 5 hours. If using and instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Makes 8 to 10 ice pops.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson (Ten Speed Press, 2010) and St Pete Times

Pineapple Chile Paletas

4 cups chopped fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Adjust to taste with additional lime juice or sugar. Pour into desired molds and freeze overnight.

Banana Paletas

1 cup milk
3/4 cup smoothly mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Combine ingredients and pour into desired mold. Freeze.

Cucumber-Chili Paletas

3 cups 1-inch chunks peeled, seeded cucumber
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 rinsed, stemmed and seeded jalapeno

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whirl until smooth. Push mixture through a fine strainer over a 2 cup glass measure. Discard residue.  Pour into desired molds and freeze.

Pina Colada Paletas

In a blender, combine:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chunks fresh pineapple
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract

Whirl until smooth. Pour into desired mold and freeze.

(The last 4 recipe are from

Guess what I'll be doing later today.....
Happy eating!


ps I am linking up with Foodie Friday at Check out the fabulous recipes....


Ms. Bake-it said...

Yum! You better save me one! These look and sound great! I used to make popsicles with fresh fruits and juices for the boys when they were little. I may have to make some of these to keep on hand for summer. Thank you for sharing these recipes!


Our Italian Kitchen said...

Could you mail me one of those strawberry and pina colada ones please??? jk.. Kinda.. These are so great! Thanks for sharing!

BECKY said...

These sound wonderful, Jane!! What a refreshing summer treat!!

Hope you have a delightful weekend gal!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

These are adorable. What a fun summertime treat. Happy Foodie Friday.

The Fajdich Times said...

Great fun for the summer. I like all the recipes and I can't wait to give them a try:)

jmac said...

YUM-MY!! just bought a watermelon today...hmmmmm...pool popcicles for me tomorrow??!!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I just checked a book out from the library on how to make these. Yours look so delicious, and I love the combination of ingredients. I can't wait to give it a try myself.

Mary Bergfeld said...

What fantastic color, Jane. These look mouth wateringly good. They are a perfect summer treat and my grandsons will love eating and making them. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Desire Empire said...

These soudansicd sure eat the iceblocks I make in Summer wih frt juice.
Have a great weekend.
Best Carolyn

rjerdee said...

Paletas. What a wonderful word. Oh, I think I know some little boys who would LOVE these!!! Thanks for the recipes...I think the watermelon ones are a good place to start. :)
Happy Weekend, Jane
xxoo Becky

Diann said...

YUMMY! these looks wonderful! and right up my family's alley! I love to use fresh fruit for frozen treats. And I like being able to control the sugar added!

Moore Minutes said...

I am VERY interested in trying these! They look so bright, fresh, and pretty. I always learn so much from you! I recently made elote mexican corn. Have you heard of that?