“I felt I was painting with a Popsicle.”
~ Robert Merrill
"What did one tomato say to the other as they were rolling down the hill?""Go ahead, I'll ketchup."
Ever wonder who makes up those corny jokes on popsicle sticks that you can only read fully once you finish the popsicle? And how much do they get paid for that job? Oh well, I hadn't eaten too many store-bought popsicles over the last decade (or two) so I'm not sure whether these jokes still exist and if they do, whether they're still not that funny...
Today's not a regular French Friday offering, as you can probably tell if you've read this far. While the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie crew are happily roasting rhubarb (for that's the recipe this week), I am left holding a can of discolored rhubarb. Unfortunately, this fresh vegetable is not currently available to those of us residing in the Southern hemisphere. 'Tis simply not in season and my plans to participate in this week's online cook-out have been utterly and quite literally, canned.
Nevertheless, I wanted to be with the 'rhubarb-roasting' crowd in spirit so I decided to turn my limp, unrosy rhubarb into something a bit more cheerful-looking - popsicles. They remind me of childhood days when being spotted with a popsicle carefully propped in between your thumb and forefinger was considered de rigueur and popsicle-stick jokes seemed somehow hilarious.
The marvels of marketing...the canned rhubarb didn't look anything like the depicted picture!
Making popsicles is no rocket science and I was relieved (and so must you) that there were minimal steps to be photographed, edited and posted up here today. My usual copious process photos are subbed with shots of lovely Bougainvillea flowers snipped from my garden instead. Lovely, are they not?
I wanted to create a two-toned popsicle so I paired the rhubarb with raspberries since these flavors go excellently together. The pink layer you see here is actually the raspberry layer, while the off-white layer is rhubarb. I made this recipe completely dairy-free because I used coconut milk with the rhubarb and rice milk with the raspberries. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the tartness of the rhubarb complemented the rich creaminess of the coconut milk (think piña colada, minus the rum!). A dash of cinnamon added to the rhubarb-coconut mixture made that side of the popsicle just that bit more interesting. You try it and see.
Spot the hidden rhubarb!
Now what I find special about this humble popsicle, and I know you will too, is that you get to bite into the icy, slushy chunks of rhubarb hidden inside it. As a (ahem..) grown-up, it's hard for me to experience the magic of eating popsicles in quite the same way as I did when I was a child. Now I'm not sure why, but having these frozen rhubarb chunks in here have enhanced the whole popsicle-eating experience for me as an adult. Oh yes, the absence of corny jokes on the sticks helped too :-).
Rhubarb-Coconut-Cinnamon and Raspberry Popsicles
Makes: 4-5 standard sized popsicles
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup rhubarb chunks, canned or freshly roasted
Extra 1/2 cup rhubarb chunks
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup organic rice milk
1. For the rhubarb layer, place coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar and ½ cup softened rhubarb chunks in a blender and process until smooth. Strain and leave the mixture in the fridge to chill.
2. For the raspberry layer, blend raspberries, sugar and rice milk until smooth. Strain to remove seeds and pour the mixture equally into popsicle molds. This is the first layer. Leave to freeze for about 30 minutes in the freezer. Tilt the popsicle molds at a 45-degree angle if you want to achieve the diagonal-layered effect.
3. Once the raspberry layer has frozen sufficiently (though not totally), place the soft rhubarb chunks on top of this layer and pour the rhubarb mixture over them, cover completely. Use a toothpick or skewer to stir the chunks around to ensure the rhubarb mixture seeps all the way to the bottom and there are no air bubbles. Insert the popsicle sticks/holders in the centre of the mold (the rhubarb chunks will hold them in place, believe it or not!). Leave to freeze completely for at least 4 hours or overnight. De-mold by placing molds under running tap water briefly and pulling the popsicles out by the sticks. Consume immediately.