8 August 2011

Beat the Heat with Blackberry Basil Yogurt Popsicles

Blackberry Basil Yogurt Popsicles

Up until the past few weeks summer seemed to have alluded us here in the valley. The motto "Welcome to the sunny Okanagan" that has tourists from all over the province and Alberta flocking to our beaches and sun-dappled vineyards seemed to be a thing of the past. With temperatures rising the past few weeks the balance of nature has been restored and our fruit stands and farmers markets are laden with the bountiful harvest of the season, beaches are crowded with sun worshippers and thrill seekers, and the wine is flowing in vineyard restaurants and tasting rooms. My wish is that the late start to summer just means that winter will be slow in arriving as well!



With summers return there is nothing more refreshing on a sweltering, hot summer day than an ice-cold popsicle. Homemade fruit pops and creamsicles are a great way to use up all the juicy, sweet fruits that are currently available at our local farmers’ markets and fruit stands and perhaps even over ripened on your kitchen counter. These summer treats are beyond simple to make.  All you need is a blender, some molds and some creativity. And if you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use short plastic or disposable cups and popsicle sticks.

Popsicle is a generic name we use for these frozen treats but it is actually a trademarked name. As the story goes in 1905, in my favourite city San Francisco, 11-year-old Frank Epperson was mixing powdered flavouring for soda and water out on his porch. He left it there overnight with the stirring stick still in the glass. That night, temperatures reached a record low, and the next morning, the boy discovered the drink had frozen to the stick, inspiring the idea of a fruit-flavoured 'Popsicle'. Eighteen years later, Epperson introduced frozen pop on a stick to the public at an amusement park. He applied for a patent for a "frozen ice on a stick" called the Epsicle ice pop, which his children renamed the "Popsicle" and the rest is history. This "Pop" had a hit!

Kids and "kids at heart" will love making homemade pops. Mom will also be happy that instead of eating the artificially coloured, high-fructose pops found in your supermarket freezer, your "kids" will even prefer popsicles made from nutritious, locally-grown fruits.

Stone fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums, work well. So do local berries and melons. I was inspired by this recipe from Paula of Dragons Kitchen who made a Blueberry Basil Sorbet that had me swooning. When visiting Toronto the smallest taste had me hooked on this special flavour where fresh herbs play a key role in creating a tantalizing dessert. It will serve me well to always remember that herbs can add an interesting twist to classic fruit flavors. Sorbet was not in the cards, but I do remember seeing a popsicle with basil infused for an added layer of flavour. Popsicles it was!!

If you have more fruit double and triple up!!! The basil is a subtle flavour that adds a slightly peppery note on the tongue to balance the full flavour of the blackberries. It is not so pronounced that the kids will notice. The only difficult thing about making these frozen treats is waiting for them to freeze before you can eat them!

Back to The Future.....


Over four years of blogging I have found many wonderful recipes to share on these pages. Some from my own kitchen, some from your creative blogs and web sites, and some from well known celebrities and chefs. I have been feeling a little nostalgic and was browsing these very pages just the other day, creeping back to the very beginning in 2006 when More Than Burnt Toast was in it's infancy and no more than "knee high to grasshopper". We all have those stellar recipes from when we first started when we were lucky enough to find one comment and have maybe one reader; in my case even before I was taking photos of the dishes I prepared. My other motivation for reconnecting with the past is to create uniform formatting on this blog and this is a fun way for me to revisit past posts.

So here are a couple of flashback recipes from the very first baby steps here at MTBT with...




**Blackberry Basil Yogurt Popsicles**

1 (12 oz) container blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup honey (agave nectar or raw sugar would work well too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
small handful of basil leaves equivalent to 1-2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
1 cup Greek yogurt

1. Bring the blackberries, honey, basil, vanilla  and orange or lemon juice to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low heat for approximately 5-8 minutes, or until blackberries are very soft or bubbly. 

2. Push the blackberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard seeds. Chill the berry puree in the refrigerator until cooled.

3. Stir the yogurt into the blackberry mixture until combined. Pour the puree into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours, or overnight. To remove the popsicles from the molds, run some warm water over the outside of the mold until you can gently pull/wriggle the popsicle out.

4. Note: You can also use Greek vanilla yogurt and omit the vanilla extract.

Makes 5-6 (2 oz) popsicles

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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35 comments:

  1. I love popsicles Vall! Look delicious!! gloria

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  2. Oh Val, gourmet pops all the way! What a great combination of flavors! I could have used these Saturday, it was so hot and muggy here!

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  3. Love these! I'm so glad you like the sorbet :) Basil has become one of my favourite herbs to combine with sweet treats.

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  4. Unfortunately, I'm forced to sit in air conditioning all day. But if I had a choice I would be out in the sweltering heat just so I'd have a rational excuse to eat these constantly!

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  5. This looks delicious. Way better than my popsicles, frozen apple juice.

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  6. Val, these sound so refreshing right now in this intensely hot summer we're having down here in the U.S.!

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  7. A divine combo, mmmhh!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  8. Great idea to finish off a rather rich meal. This one is for the grown-ups!! Love the lovely color!

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  9. Definitely not something that "Jerry the Popsicle Man" would deliver--a grownup treat. I need to dig out my not-used-since-the-boys-grew-up popsicle molds (that are waiting around for grandchildren)!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  10. Looks great!

    Just one comment: vanilla is nearly always added off heat. High heat kills the flavor. Baking is no problem, because in an oven the vanilla isn't in direct contact with the heat source. But even on a simmer, it's safer to mix everything but the vanilla, take the pan off burner, and then stir in the vanilla.

    Cheers!

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  11. Unless of course you don't want a pronounced vanilla flavour. Vanilla extracts have an alcohol base so a quick cook over the stove eliminates this. The vanilla was a subtle background flavour and not totally necessary. It is better to substitute Greek vanilla yogurt.

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  12. Oooh! Those look so wonderful! What beautiful color!

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  13. I can't believe I've NEVER made popsicles! Crazy! I love blackberry anything - yum!

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  14. I LOVE homemade popsicles and blackberry ones sound great! We're doing blueberry right now.

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  15. Refreshing! Great combination of flavors too.

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  16. Those will definitely cool you off. Sorry to hear it's hot up your way too.
    Sam

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  17. What a delightful combination of flavors! These sound absolutely delicious.

    I wish I could have shared some of the heat we experienced in July! It was one of the hottest on record.

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  18. Thanks for posting this one...I may actually try it. It doesn't look difficult and it definitely looks delicious and refreshing.

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  19. I am really liking the basil in these popsicles!

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  20. wow! what a perfect flavor combo - wish I had these on a hot day!

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  21. Those are lovely. I bet my little guy would love them!

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  22. I've been seeing hints of ripe blackberries along the side of the road lately, and I can't wait to get my bucket out there!

    These would be the perfect way to savour them!

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  23. Your summer sounds like ours was last year, but this year it's been lovely! I hope you're right and that your winter is delayed in coming. Lovely pops -- I love the flavor combo in them. I've been meaning to try some lately thinking it would be much better for my husband and I than sipping another glass of wine in the evenings. Dessert!

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  24. oh yum!!! blackberry and basil! looks awesome!

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  25. I see you have been bitten by the berry bramble bug too! GREG

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  26. I think soon I am going to have to break down and buy myself some popsicle molds. These look fabulous daaaahling!
    *kisses* HH

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  27. what a stunning hue! and to throw basil in there--daring and delicious, val!

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  28. These are perfect for hot summer days when ice cream just feels too heavy (I can't believe I said that) But yes, it's true, this would be so refreshing right about now.

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  29. You have inspired me Val. I have just gone and made some quick ice lollies for Cooper in my zuko maker.

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  30. These look absolutely fantastic! YUM!

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  31. i need to do more like you and work with others' recipes! so many wonderful creations... i love the basil in this... and even better b/c it's in a popsicle! Have you ever heard of Jeni's ice creams? I just had some of her push-ups and oh my word, they were amazing... yum!

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  32. Those popsicles sound absolutely delicious! Love the basil, definitely gives the popsicles an interesting twist!

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  33. I'm a big fan of home made popsicles Val! I love the flavour combo you have going on here! Enjoy the summer!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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