Alright, we can just start by getting this out of the way: as far as I’m concerned, and think what you will about it, George Clooney is hot. His politics and his five o’clock shadow are spot-on attractive. Kyle is hotter than him, of course. But only barely.
But this is not about Kyle, or George.
Because actually, this is about something even sexier than either of them. (I know, right?)
Let’s back up, to right around noon, when Jacob said “Mommy, can we make icepops?” and then Lucas said “Pah! Pah!” and I started to say “No” because we were just coming back from swimming and they hadn’t eaten lunch yet and anyway I wasn’t sure where the sticks were – and then suddenly I flashed on this, which I had been wanting to try since Lucy posted it. And this, which came through my email today. And Daisy’s comment on this post, where she suggested a strawberry-balsamic-black pepper ice cream … and if that wasn’t already a perfect storm, well … the kicker was this slightly scary kitchen gadget (what is in there that makes it freeze like that?) which someone (actually it was me, thanks Kyle) got in their Christmas stocking last year …
“Okay. Let’s make icepops.”
Part of the joy of a quick icepop maker is not having to wait very long for your pops, so the guys were a little annoyed that I wanted to roast strawberries and rhubarb before making them. “Do we have any orange juice? I want an orange juice icepop.” (Since they don’t get to drink juice except on special occasions, juice-pops are pretty much money in the bank as far as they’re concerned). I fended them off with frozen blueberries (which works almost every time) and got to work … we had strawberries from our CSA share, and the last couple stalks of rhubarb for the year (sigh). And I had a single can of whole-fat coconut milk, that I actually bought precisely because of Lucy’s post, even if I hadn’t gotten around to using it before today.
Anyway I’m not sure exactly what I want to tell you about these.
Except that they were the best frozen dessert I have ever made.
These ‘ice blocks’ (I’m so Australian right now) are rich and creamy with coconut goodness, with hunks of jammy strawberry that themselves are laced with balsamic. There is a bite of black pepper on the very edge of your palate, and as Kimberley says of her cardamom-laced version, this ice block “is what I’d like to have in hand on any given warm night at any given moment this summer.” I would add – this entire summer.
Or maybe my entire life.
And since it’s Friday night and my husband is cozy on the couch and ready to watch 30 Rock with me, we’ll leave it at that. Have a great weekend everyone – happy ice blocking :)
Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb in Black-Peppered Coconut Ice Pops
Adapted from Lucy in the Larder’s adaptation of The Year in Food‘s recipe, with a little twist based on this recipe from Ladystiles at Food52 and thanks to Daisy for her black pepper ice cream idea. Whew! :)
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup rhubarb pieces
Big drizzle of maple syrup
Big drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Big pinch of salt
1 can full-fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1-2 pinches fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the strawberries and rhubarb on the paper. Pour a good glug of maple syrup and a good glug of balsamic over the berries and rhubarb, sprinkle with the salt, and toss all together so all pieces are coated. Roast for 30 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the sauce has thickened and caramelized. Holy mackerel this is good, and there will be some left over to eat on ice cream or toast, hooray.
While roasting the berries and rhubarb, warm the coconut milk in a small pan over a low flame. Add the sugar and stir until just dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in pepper, a pinch at a time, to taste (I used less than I might have, because I was theoretically making them for the boys).
When the strawberries and rhubarb are ready, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
In a glass measuring cup with a pouring lip, combine a half cup of the coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of roasted fruit*. (If you have an eight-pop mold, or something else larger, you can make more of this mixture at a time).
Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions in your ice block mold.
* You will have a fair amount of both fruit and coconut milk left over, both of which will keep, refrigerated, for the next couple days … if you are like us, you will make short work of both with additional pops.