23 August 2011

Pineapple & Lime Paletas

Do you know what paletas are?

They are sort of the same thing as popsicles. They're Mexican summertime treats, made with full-on, unabashed, refreshing fruits. They're nothing like the fake-flavoured, fake-coloured things I grew up on. Nono, these are way fantastic-er than that.

When I was in college, my marketing professor had a guest lecturer in from a local Nashville business called Las Paletas. Her place was famous (infamous?) for not having any signage, and I guess it worked, because everyone wanted to know where the secret popsicle shop was. The product really had to be awesome, since having a brick-and-mortar where you sell only popsicles and manage to make a profit, sign or no-sign, is quite an impressive feat.

After our class, we were led us on a caravan to the upstart little shop, where we sampled flavours inspired by her childhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was like being shown through a secret passageway into a world of flavour which my young heart had not yet dared to imagine. I tried hibiscus for the first time in my life that day. It was like nothing I'd ever tasted before... sweet and piquant and addictive. I've never forgotten it.

I wonder if she ever got a sign for her place.... a quick google search tells me the place was still open as of last year, but their website sadly appears defunct. Though, I did find this blog post which includes a couple of nice photos (particularly of the menu, which I would love to devour in its entirety). There also seems to be an internet rumour that she and her sister were challenged to a Bobby Flay throwdown, and beat the crap out of him. Awesome.

I'm now looking forward to next summer, so I can try my hand at more flavours, like cucumber-chilli, pineapple-chilli, and chilli-chocolate (can you sense a theme here?)... in the mean time, I've got a freezer full of these pineapple-lime treats left over from this summer's festivities, and I intend to eat them no matter how cold it gets, because they are delicious.

Pineapple & Lime Paletas
adapted from Bon Appétit

3/4 cup sugar
2 cups pineapple - I used canned pineapple (in juice) and included the juice. I know, tinned?... don't judge.
Juice of 1/2 lime

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Chill syrup until cold, about 1 hour.

Purée syrup and pineapple in a food processor until smooth. Stir in lime juice and divide among molds. Freeze until firm.

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