Friday, July 26, 2013

banana, nutella and salted pistachio popsicles

a banana nutella popsicle stack

Growing up, we made popsicles by pouring orange juice into these molds, letting them freeze and eating them outside so we didn’t sticky up the kitchen floor. But when I first bought these popsicles molds a year ago, did I put juice in them? No. I started dreaming about frozen cherry cheesecake popsicles and key lime pie paletas. I became obsessed with recreating the creamsicles of my youth, but only if the outside layer was orange and the middle was white. I began scratching out recipes for rum-mango-coconut popsicles, roasted peach and frozen yogurt on a stick and strawberry black pepper frozen ices that might taste like one of my favorite summer cocktails.

magical one-ingredient banana ice cream

I first read about magical one-ingredient banana ice cream around the same time. If you haven’t, well, go buy some bananas. Freeze them until they’re almost quite but not completely frozen, then cut them into chunks and blend them in a food processor and you’ll have the most amazing soft serve banana gelato ever.

salted pistachios, shelling and shelling

grind salted pistachios to a powder
banana chunks + blender = all you gotta do
banana puree (with a smidge of vanilla and cinnamon)

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I had to fiddle, and when I did I discovered that roasting the bananas first, before freezing them, added a bit extra dimension to the flavor. And if you roasted them with brown butter, a drop (okay, two) of rum, vanilla and cinnamon and paired them with chocolate ganache with flecks of sea salt, it’s just. I cannot. It’s ridiculous.

ridiculously good and cheap from rome
we're going to pipe this nutella, don't be scared
banana nutella popsicles, ready to freeze
all frozen now

And then summer came back again and it got hot, so hot, guys. And even though I’ve made peace with summer. Even though I was legitimately bummed yesterday when we had a freak lukewarm day that required a cardigan in the morning (who am I anymore?). Even though I love projects that allow me to be as crafty as I want in the kitchen, I looked at my ideas for popsicles and was sure I’d lost my ever-loving mind. Popsicles should not be complicated.

roll your unmolded popsicles in ground pistachios
a pistachio dip, for those who want some with each bite

And so I made these instead. They have three ingredients, three ingredients that provide everything a good popsicle should — creaminess, perfect sweetness, enough indulgence that your 3 year-old (okay, and his resident 30-somethings) isn’t suspicious that you’re just trying to get more fruit into him, and for me, the essential salty crunchy that I want to contrast every dessert. And they are amazing.

banana-nutella popsicles, varied pistachio coatings

One year ago: Pink Lemonade Bars
Two years ago: Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons
Three years ago: Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons (Think you don’t like succotash? This will change you.)
Four years ago: Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons
Five years ago: Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart
Six years ago: Pearl Couscous with Olives and Tomatoes

Banana, Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles

Can these count as breakfast? Banana, Nutella (so European, right?) and a small handful of nuts counts, right? I’m asking for a friend.

I mostly resisted my normal impulses to make things complicated, but caved on two flavorings — 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon. You’ll be fine without them, but they add a wonderful extra dimension here. So might coconut milk or rum or salted peanuts instead of pistachios or peanutella instead of Nutella but we’re not going to do that, are we?

Makes 7 1/3-cup popsicles

1/3 cup shelled roasted salted pistachios
4 large bananas, ripe but not mushy
A scant 1/2 cup Nutella or another chocolate-hazelnut (gianduja) spread
Flavorings (see Note up top), if desired

Grind pistachios to a powder. Set aside.

Peel bananas and break them into chunks. Puree them with any flavorings you might want to add. You should have about 2 cups puree.

Scoop Nutella into a small plastic bag and snip off the corner. (Trust me, fake-piping it into the narry molds is easier than trying to spoon it in.) Pour a little banana into each mold, then squiggle in a little Nutella. Repeat a couple times, trying to make sure that every bite or two will have Nutella in it, using about 1 tablespoon of Nutella in each popsicle. Fill molds to about 1/4-inch before the top, to leave room for expansion when freeze.

If using molds that contain sticks or hold wooden ones in place, snap on lids and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or open cup molds, freeze until beginning to set (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks until freeze until fully solid. If using instant popsicle makers, I’m jealous, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once frozen, spread pistachios out on a cold plate. Unmold popsicles and roll them all or partially in the nuts. Go outside to eat them so you don’t sticky up the kitchen floor.

Popsicle molds: I use these guys. I have the metal version, which was all that was available when I bought them a couple years ago, but the metal parts are not dishwasher safe and don’t hold the popsicle sticks in place as well as I understand the plastic ones do, so if I were buying them again, I’d opt for plastic.


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