This — and amazingly, not the fudge, banana-nutella-salted-pistachio or the strawberry-lime-black-pepper ones before it — is the popsicle that sent me into a tailspin that begin in late June and continues to this moment, when we managed to squeeze in one last vacation before summer was over but are maybe kind of sad we forgot our popsicle molds? No, that would be weird. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not true, just that I’m not going to admit it.
You’d think that the one that sent me over the edge into some sort of popsicle fevor/fervor would at least been insanely decadent, all salted caramel ganache and peanut butter penuche. At the least, it would have been extraordinary in complexity, one of those recipes that imagine you’d like to tether yourself to the freezer for an afternoon in the name of a stunning striated popsicle, frozen in segregated layers (but that, sadly, disappear in the exact same amount of time as the frozen juice varieties do). You wouldn’t guess that it might be a popsicle with but five ingredients, one that is no more complicated than a pinch of salt and another that comes straight from a can.
But when we tried one, I swear, the world stopped for a second. The lime was so bracingly tart, the sweetened condensed milk was so rich with concentrated creaminess, the exterior crunch of ground cookies so brilliant that we had to sit down for a minute and consider the nirvana it all. Tina Fey once said that she believes that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich, but I think it’s just because she hasn’t had one of these yet.
Before this, I hadn’t considered that popsicles were just a format, a shape you could mold your favorite desserts into, rendering them more portable and perfect for sticky hot summer days. Before this, there wouldn’t have been a Popsicle Week and, lo, how sad that would have been.
UK Book Tour: Just in case you missed it, I announced some book tour dates on the other side of the pond (no big deal) (SUCH A big deal) last week. All of the details we have are here. More to come. [The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook UK Book Tour]
Three years ago: Eggplant Salad Toasts
Four years ago: Lobster Rolls and Espresso Chiffon Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting
Five years ago: Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa and How to Poach An Egg, Smitten Kitchen-Style
Six years ago: Smoke-Roasted Stuffed Bell Peppers
Key Lime Pie Popsicles
Perfect as printed from Fany Gerson’s Paletas
If you don’t have key limes, you can absolutely use regular limes (as I did). However, the name “lime pie” just doesn’t evoke what I wanted it to, which was the sheer lime-and-cream deliciousness the pie is known for. These popsicles, despite the sweetness from the condensed milk, are surprisingly tart. The preschooler wanted no part in them, which just meant that there were more for us, nyah-nyah.
No popsicle molds? You could any kind of tiny cup to mold them instead, but my favorite is a champagne flute for shape; you could even use those disposable plastic ones. When the mixture is halfway frozen, insert a popsicle stick and now no retro popsicle mold needs to come between you and Popsicle Week.
Makes 10 1/3-cup or 3-ounce popsicles
Approximately 4 large regular limes or
6 to 7 several key limes
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half (or, 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup milk)
Pinch of salt
3 cups coarsely crushed graham crackers or Maria cookies
Zest however many of the limes needed until you have 2 teaspoons total in the bottom of a medium bowl. Juice limes until you have 3/4 cup fresh lime juice. Add juice, condensed milk, half-and-half and salt to zest and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for about 5 hours, or until completely frozen.
Dip in lukewarm water for 10 seconds to unmold each popsicle and press each side into crushed cookie crumbs, coating completely.