Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Berry Berry Yogurt Pops

I once threw a fit (that's an understatement, it was equivalent to a tornado) because I couldn’t buy a blender. Really. True story. For months, I had been saving money to buy my first kitchen appliance. I went to bed thinking of creamy milkshakes, fruit juices, and icy cold smoothies, anything to beat the sticky summers in Shanghai.

My parents and I made plans to buy a Philips standing blender after our lunch on a weekend. I had safely tucked away my cash in my wallet, too excited to eat, I was bouncing off the walls, chirping, “Is it time yet? Can we go now?” Much to my chagrin, when we arrived at the house ware floor of the department store, the price for the blender had shot up. I didn't have enough money to buy it anymore. I was devastated. I went home sulking, banged the door shut, screamed into my pillow, yanked my blanket to the floor and cried in a corner (I don't think I even cried that hard about a Barbie. I mean, it was this just a blender). I suppose I'm a wee bit spoiled.

Weeks later, I had finally saved enough and bought the blender. I hugged it all the way home, admiring its mint green tint and the stand with a cantaloupe-colored dial for three speeds. There was also a small button for quick clean and an inner tube to stick in the middle of the blender for separating seeds. It was beautiful.

Immediately, I plugged the white cord into a socket, dolloped big scoops of vanilla ice cream into the blender, followed by chunks of banana and a dash of milk to make a milkshake. I concocted tall glasses of strawberry smoothies with ice and lounged on the couch with a book. Another time, I attempted to make kiwi juice, but it was grotesque, the blender contents turned a murky green color and I didn't separate the seeds, so the texture became grainy. The idea of making something from just the press of a button, how I could change and adjust the flavors and textures with just a few ingredients was incredibly fun for me. This blender became my best friend.

For Christmas last year, my parents bought me a small blender, knowing that I loved kitchen appliances (thankfully there were only cries of joy this time). It's similar to the magic bullet, but it goes by a different name, The Rocket. I didn't touch it much over the winter, I'd rather sip on tea and coffee to keep me warm. But recently, I've been blending smoothies every weekend to change up my breakfast routine.

So...I was going to tell you about a berry banana smoothie. Then I made these and thought who wants smoothies when you got popsicles?

Here are some berry berry yogurt pops, the perfect remedy to a heat wave. I didn’t follow a recipe, but went by instinct. I impatiently waited for them to freeze. I twiddled my thumbs. I oogled at food blogs from around the world. I ate some chocolate. Finally, hours later, I sunk my teeth into the frozen berry puree, but then the tartness of yogurt hit me--I forgot to add sugar to the yogurt. I adjusted the recipe and included sugar to even out the flavors and phew! it makes a huge difference.

I love the rosy pink color of blended raspberries. It's subtly sweet and you can play with other fruit too (melon or mangoes would be yummy). I’m looking forward to experimenting with other flavour combinations, like strawberry basil, or peach and ginger. Or even better, why not do as Matt Bittman suggests: cocktails on a stick?

There's really nothing better than cooling down in the sweltering heat with a few icy popsicles. Share this with your friends and I can promise you there won't be any tandrums.

Berry Berry Yogurt Pops

I used raspberries and strawberries here, but feel free to use your favorite berries. Be it blackberries, blueberries, or a combination, it will be delicious.

Also, instead of powdered sugar as a sweetener, try using maple syrup or honey. Just keep in mind, that sweeteners all have various levels of sweetness, so add whatever you choose to use to the yogurt in small amounts and taste until you like it.

Makes 8 teeny tiny popsicles

½ cup of berries (frozen or fresh)
1 banana
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
½ cup of plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar or any other sweetener.

1. Puree fruit, lemon juice, and zest until thick and syrupy. You may have to pulse blender a few times to break up the fruit. Remove puree and set aside. Rinse blender, add yogurt and sugar. Blend.

2. Evenly spoon half of the fruit puree into ice molds, then evenly spoon all the yogurt mixture into molds. Layer again with fruit puree. Insert popsicle sticks, freeze until firm, about 3 hours. To release popsicles, run molds under warm water. Eat.

Recipe here!

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