Did your mother use to make you ‘homemade’ popsicles in the summertime as a child? Mine did, and if you’re a child of the ’80s like me, we are probably now picturing the exact same thing. There were only two varieties; either frozen apple juice pops (likely from concentrate) or frozen orange juice pops.
Paletas, meaning ‘little shovel’ because of their shape, come from Mexico. In recent years they have become increasingly popular in areas of the US, like Los Angeles, that have a large influence from the Chicanx culture, and the trend continues to grow. Paletas are similar to a popsicle or ice lolly and typically come in two different varieties, each with an endless list of flavours. Paletas de agua (water) are made from fruits and their juices. Paletas de leche (milk), are made from creamier ingredients, from arroz con leche to hazelnut to horchata and beyond.
Imagine ice chests and freezers outside little shops stacked with varieties of these, made from pronounceable ingredients. Yes, they have sugar, but the flavours are made from the things themselves rather than flavourings produced in factories. We are so used to seeing chemicals relabeled as ‘ice creams’ from big brands here in the UK. (Next time you’re buying one of those tempting little guys on a stick, check the ingredients to see if what’s actually inside is what you associate with ice cream.)
I got tired of imagining, so I made some.
Mango is one of my family’s favourite fruits. It’s meaty and sweet but also has this indescribably funky-yet-satisfying undertone that balances out the sweet just right. ‘Mango-flavoured’ things however, never quite capture the funky depth of flavour, and most often leave me wanting. This little guy is the real thing, buttery rich funk and all. I find the earthiness and slight tongue tingle from the chiles enhances both the flavour of the mango as well as its silky texture. I honestly couldn’t have been happier with the final outcome.
Real ingredients. Satisfying flavours for a grown-up palate that doesn’t just mean boozy (I prefer to drink my alcohol rather than eat it…). What more reason do you need to make yourself your very own paleta? Let’s do this.