Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rhubarb and Strawberry Popsicles - a sophi-stick-ated Summer treat !

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Sophi-stick-ated !

It’s been over a hundred years since the 11-year-old Frank Epperson went to bed, leaving a soda on his porch (so the story goes). After a freezing night, he reclaimed his drink, which had frozen around a stir stick left in the glass. I don’t imagine the soda remained untouched by the local fauna overnight and I guess if he’d looked closely he would probably have seen one or two drowned insects trapped in the world’s first recorded ice pop.

In 1923, Frank patented this frozen treat (insects not included!), calling it the “Epsicle”. His kids had a better name for it and it’s been the “Popsicle” ever since - that’s Ice Pop or Ice Lol(ly) to you and me depending on what part of the country you are from.  Anyway, whatever you call it, Summer just wouldn’t be the same without flavoured ice on a stick.

Over the years, I have gone through various unsophisticated favourites: the luridly lime-y Loop the Loop, the Iceberger, the Wibbly Wobbly Wonder, Solero, and Magnum but I have less of a sweet tooth now.

Sweetened poached fruit combined with Greek yoghurt makes a creamy but relatively healthy (and sophi-stick-ated) alternative. 

Ice pop molds are available in most supermarkets and kitchen stores at this time of year.

For 12 – 16 popsicles (depending on the size of mold) you will need…
600g rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
200g strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice (or water)
200g honey (or sugar)
500g Greek yoghurt
a few sliced strawberries to decorate

Put the fruit in a medium saucepan with the apple juice or water. Place over a medium heat, and cover. As it cooks, the rhubarb will release a lot of juice, which will provide enough liquid to poach the fruit.

When the fruit is soft (after approximately 15 minutes), remove from the heat. Add the honey (or sugar) and taste. (I don’t have a very sweet tooth but you may prefer a sweeter mix. If so add more honey or sugar to your own taste.)

Place the fruit in a sieve over a bowl and leave to cool, catching any excess fruit syrup in the bowl.

Next, place the yoghurt in a bowl and stir the cooled fruit through. (It is delicious just like this, served up with a little fruit syrup drizzled over.)

Line popsicle molds with slices of strawberris and drizzle over a little of the syrup to form a thin outside layer on one side of the popsicle. (If you are using upright molds, this won’t be possible so just mix some chopped strawberries through the yoghurt before freezing.) Place in the freezer until the thin layer of syrup has frozen. Spoon the yoghurt mixture into the molds, insert popsicle sticks and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

You will have some fruit syrup left over. This will store in the fridge for up to a week and is delicious mixed with sparkling water or dry cava.

Taste-tester verdicts
Sister: “Mmmm! Very refreshing.
Niece (2½): “Euugh! I don’ like it!”
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