I wish the background in the above photo was a bright blue swimming pool, or the ocean, but alas, this photo was taken from my apartment balcony, where I (if I'm lucky) manage to catch a little breeze in the sweltering heat that is summer in Rome. Having just started a new job, I will not have any vacation this summer, which makes sense -- I started a little over a month ago -- but I will certainly miss having a week or two of pure relaxation.
I might not be able to lay all day on the beach, but I can make homemade popsicles, which is somewhat of a consolation, right? So, to today's recipe for Raspberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles, which are so very refreshing that they're really not so different from a dip in the pool (or at least that's what I tell myself).
These popsicles have a few things going for them: First off: let me assure you that much like these bagels, these are worlds away from the supermarket version you're used to, and are totally worth the bit of extra effort involved. Secondly: these popsicles are also on the lighter side, nutritious even, made with Greek yogurt, berries, and a a little sugar and honey to sweeten things up, and are absolutely delicious. The yogurt here is creamy and sweet, and balances the tart raspberries perfectly with just a hint of honey mixed in every bite. I find these to be more substantial than your average fruit and ice popsicle thanks to the yogurt, and besides being a perfect summer dessert, I admit I've had these for lunch or dinner when it's too hot to cook. I also consider them a completely acceptable breakfast (your usual fruit and yogurt, but frozen on a stick!)
If you want to make some frozen desserts at home but want to start with something more approachable than homemade gelato, these are a great starting point. In terms of the flavors -- I opted for raspberries because they're what I had on hand, but I'm sure that strawberries or blackberries, or any combination of those three would be delicious as well. Now that I've added popsicle molds* to my kitchen tools, the possibilities are endless -- I'm thinking strawberry prosecco or honey, yogurt, and toasted walnut popsicles next. Stay tuned!!
*I was surprised at how little trouble I had finding popsicle molds here in Rome, not to mention they only cost me a few euros. If you can't find them at your nearest supermarket or cooking supplies store, I found they also sell them on Amazon.
RASPBERRY YOGURT POPSICLES
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt
Cut the raspberries in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the honey and stir to combine. Set aside.
Place the water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. Gently simmer for 5 minutes more. Pour the syrup in to a small bow and chill it completely. You can do this in the fridge, but I find it much quicker to set the bowl of syrup in a larger bowl of ice water or just pop it in the freezer for a bit. Within 15 minutes, it should be quite cold to the touch. Whisk the yogurt and chilled syrup together in another bowl.
Place the berry mixture and any juices that have accumulated in a blender or food processor and process until almost smooth. Prepare the popsicles by alternating pouring the yogurt mixture with the berry mixture into each popsicle mold, repeating as desired until you reach 1/4-inch from the tops (to leave room for expansion as they freeze). Use a skewer to lightly swirl the mixtures together, if you want -- I swirled some of them and left some with clearly defined layers of yogurt or raspberry.
If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When the popsicles are fully frozen, I found it was helpful to leave them at room temperature for a few minutes to make removal from the molds a bit easier. Makes 8-10 popsicles, depending on the size of the molds you use.
Recipe adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com.