3 Ingredient Creamy Lime Pops

Citrus season on Burgeson Family Farm always starts with the lime harvest. Before the very hot summers have faded to the crisp days of autumn we treat ourselves to cool lime-centric drinks on the porch in the evening: gin and tonic, greyhound and margarita cocktails and sparkling water on ice with generous wedges of lime plucked from the tree just minutes before. When I walk by the trees, laden with fruit, it is almost impossible for me to resist grabbing a lime, scratching the aromatic rind and inhaling the intoxicating aroma. We load our car with bags of limes to sell at the farmer’s market and farm stand at Garden Earth Farms, our sister farm in Santa Rosa, and the drive to deliver is like 2 hours of aromatherapy.

limes with flowers

Limes on the trees at Burgeson Family Farm. Note the bees are at work pollinating a new crop which will be ready in the spring. It is uncommon for us to have 2 crops in one year but it looks like it will happen this year.

This is the pop recipe that “started it all”, the pop obsession in our family. Lime pops are so cool, creamy and tart; it takes only 3 ingredients and minutes to make the mix, and to me they are more satisfying and delicious than a key lime pie.  This recipe will work with any limes, either the small little Key limes with their intense acidity and aroma and multitude of tiny seeds, or the big juicy seedless Bearss limes, or even store bought supermarket Mexican limes.

key and bearss limes

Key limes on the left and Bearss limes on the right

(Many people think that only key limes are yellow but all limes will turn more yellow when they are very ripe. Note the Bearrs limes are actually more yellow than the Key limes.)

If there is a farmer in your area growing limes, I urge you to  buy some at least once to make this, or your cocktails, with them.  Most of the limes in the grocery stores are shipped from Mexico, and they are far from freshly picked. The oils in the zest of a freshly picked lime add so much to the flavor of this recipe. You may want to keep one on hand to “scratch and sniff” for a pick me up.

3 Ingredient Creamy Lime Pop Recipe

For this recipe you need only 3 ingredients:

Limes (4-5 large ones or about 10-14 small ones)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces) (I use organic)

1 ½ cups of non-fat Greek yogurt (I use organic, usually either Straus, Clover or Wallaby because I have actually seen their farms and “happy cows” as I travel about Northern California)

Finely zest the rind from the limes. I love this little tool, a microplane grater, for making a very fine zest:

microplane grater rind

You should have 2 Tablespoons of zest. Note the beautiful fine zest this tool makes.

a fine lime zest

Squeeze the juice from enough limes to make ½ cup.  This handy citrus juicer makes that task a breeze.

juicing limes

Put the juice and zest in a bowl. Stir in the condensed milk.  Add the Nonfat Greek yogurt and mix well. I use a hand whisk. You can also whip it in a blender which will make the mixture fluffy and the pops will be more light and creamy once frozen.

whisking ingredients

(I like to mix it in a measuring cup with a pour spout for easy pouring into the molds).

Note: These are high in protein and low in fat (see the analysis below). If you would like the recipe to be even higher in protein and lower in sugar and fat, you can add more of the Greek yogurt. That can be done according to your taste, as it will make them tart.  They also will be a bit less creamy.

Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds. This recipe will make 10 popsicles of about 1/2 cup each.

filling pop molds

If you don’t have molds you can use small paper cups, but I urge you to consider buying some popsicle molds. They are the most used piece of kitchen equipment we have purchased in a long time. For more about popsicle making and molds take a look at this other blog post I have on pops.

Put the popsicle sticks in the molds.

insert sticksDon’t shove the sticks all the way to the bottom. That will leave a short stick for eating. The mixture should be thick enough to suspend the sticks at the right depth. If not, freeze for awhile and then insert the sticks about halfway into the molds.

Now put the molds in a flat spot in your freezer and patiently wait for at least 4-6 hours for them to freeze completely all the way through. The sticks must be completely frozen in the middle of the pop.

To remove the popsicles from the molds put some very hot water in a glass. (I heat the water in the glass for a minute or two in the microwave). Dip the pop in the hot water for 10-20 seconds or so, until it slightly releases from the sides of the mold. Now squeeze the mold a bit to loosen the pop, hold the pop with the handle facing down and slide it out of the mold. If it does not come out easily, do not pull too hard on the stick or it might come out of the pop. Instead, heat it in the water again until it releases easily.

You can refreeze the pops on a tray until they are very hard, so they don’t stick together, then store them in a container or plastic bag in the freezer. They theoretically will last a long time, but practically speaking, it is doubtful they will be around all that long. They are that good.

pops

Creamy Lime Pops

Nutrition Analysis per Pop (Makes 10):

152 calories, 6 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat,

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

www.californiamediterraneandiet.com

Creamy Fruit Pops

finished pops 1

Who doesn’t love ice cream cones and ice cream bars? The cold creamy texture is such a treat on a hot summer day. In our household we love ice cream, and we were buying too much fancy organic ice cream for both my budget and my sensibilities as a dietitian. ½ cup of premium ice cream has as much saturated fat as many of us should be eating in an entire day, and who eats only ½ cup? Certainly no one in my family.

Another concern that I had about eating so much ice cream is that it was displacing other desserts that might be higher in healthy antioxidants (ie fruit). It is pretty clear by reading the ingredient labels and by tasting, that most ice cream, even those with fruit flavors, contain a nutritionally nominal amount of fruit.

Fruit and fruit juice pops are a great way to have a cold treat on a hot summer day while increasing our daily intake of fruit. But I will be honest, sometimes I like a creamy treat, and fruit or fruit juice pops, while tasty at times, are just too icy to replace ice cream to my palate. I want something more like an ice cream cone or ice cream bar.

This summer we developed a method for making creamy pops that have displaced almost all of the ice cream we were eating. There are endless variations on our theme but the common ingredients that contribute to the creamy texture are a seedless fruit puree of some type and sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk  is a “magic ingredient” for creamy ice cream without making a cooked custard base or even using an ice cream maker to churn. America’s Test Kitchen uses it for a simple chocolate ice cream recipe in this YouTube video. Why not take the creaminess provided by the condensed milk and apply it to a healthier fruit popsicle, a kind of hybrid popsicle/ice cream bar?

In most cases besides fruit and condensed milk, we add a bit of vanilla yogurt or Greek yogurt. If we are being decadent we might fold in a touch of whipped cream. Ground nuts, nut butter, low-fat cream cheese and whey protein powder have also occasionally made an appearance. You really can let your imagination go wild.

Here are the general directions for making:

Creamy Fruit Pops

To make creamy fruit pops, you first must purchase popsicle molds. We have tried several types and they all work fine. Adrian likes the Zoku classical popsicle molds.They come with their own reusable plastic sticks.

I prefer the molds I purchased at Cost Plus which use the traditional wooden popsicle sticks.

I hate drippy frozen pops so I also tried push-up type popsicle molds and recommend them for all those messy eaters out there (yes, that would be me!)

Next, you make smooth puree of fruit. We typically use berries, apricots or plums. Cook the fruit in a glass bowl in the microwave or on the stove until it has broken down into a mush. Using an immersion or stand blender to grind the cooked fruit can speed this process along. The puree will look like this raspberry puree, which is smooth but has a lot of seeds.

cooked puree with seedsWe like our pops to be very smooth, so we strain out the seeds and skins from the puree. We use a fabulous attachment for our Cuisinart citrus juicer called a Power Strainer. cuisinart with attachmentIt pushes the fruit puree through small holes leaving the seeds behind.

strainer in actionWe use it all the time for tomato sauce and fruit purees. Unfortunately it is no longer being made and we will probably cry if it ever breaks. I did find that you can buy it used on Amazon. Alternatively a hand strainer such as this model is a worthwhile investment for making smooth purees and sauces.  Even a stainless colander type strainer with a spoon or a pestle can be used to remove the seeds. You can also just leave the seeds and skins in for more fiber if you would like.

A typical ratio for the mix is 3 cups of fruit puree , ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk and ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt. I like organic sweetened condensed milk and organic yogurt so I try to use this whenever possible. Mix this up and taste. If it is not sweet enough or creamy enough for your preference, add more condensed milk (an entire can is 1 ½ cups which is quite a bit but we have used this amount on occasion, especially with lime and lemon pops). If it is not tart enough, or you want more of a yogurt pop, you can add more yogurt. For 3 cups of fruit puree we typically use between ½ and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and between ½ and 1 cup of yogurt (either nonfat Greek or vanilla yogurt). If you prefer more of an “ice cream”, decadent pop, you can fold between ½ and 1 cup of cream whipped to soft peaks into the mixture. Another way to get a more rich or creamy pop is to add nut butter or finely ground nuts to the mixture (about ¼ cup or so).

We like to blend the ingredients to a fluffy texture in a blender on high speed to aerate, but whisking with a hand whisk or using a mixer would also work. This is the final raspberry mixture.

raspberry pop mixNow pour your mixture into the molds, insert the popsicle sticks, pop them in the freezer and wait for at least 4-6 hours or more until they are firm.To unmold either let them sit for a few minutes out at room temperature to soften, or hold them between your hands to warm up, or dip in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds to soften the outside to un-mold. Don’t pull too hard on the stick before the outside is soft, or try to remove them before the center is frozen, or the stick will come out leaving you a pop in the mold without a stick!

finished raspberry popYum, a creamy raspberry yogurt pop.

These pictures show preparation of a variation which is a creamy raspberry fruit pop with a swirl. When filling the molds, the raspberry is alternated with spoonfuls of the swirl ingredient. Once the pop is filled, a knife is swirled through the two flavors lightly.

The raspberry mixture was 3 cups raspberry puree, ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk and ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt.

The cream cheese swirl was made by blending 4 ounces of low-fat cream cheese with 1 cup vanilla yogurt and ¼ cup of sweetened condensed milk.

filled popsicle moldThis is the swirled cream cheese/ raspberry mixture in the Zoku Classical molds before freezing.

The toasted hazelnut swirl was made by toasting ½ cup hazelnuts in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted. They were then ground to a paste in the blender, and blended until smooth along with ¼ cup of sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup nonfat greek yogurt and ½ cup of vanilla yogurt.

filled mold swirl popsThis is the swirled raspberry hazelnut mixture in the Cost Plus molds.

The popsicle sticks were then added and the pops were placed in the freezer.

popsicles tucked away in freezerFinally the pops were dipped in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds and un-molded.

Here is an array including cream cheese swirled, hazelnut swirled, and raspberry yogurt pops.

raspberry popsA mix of cool raspberry and raspberry swirl pops.

What a welcome treat on a hot summer day!

We have made blackberry, plum, raspberry, grape, blueberry and apricot. We have also made key lime, orange and lemon (using just the juice and rind with condensed milk and yogurt or whipped cream). Our main ingredients are always what we grow or what is in season. I still have not tried peach, but for those of you with peach trees and a bumper crop I urge you to give that a try. We have added peanut butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter and whey protein powder.  Every pop has been tasty, or so it seems, as none are left in the freezer!

As you can see, ingredient amounts are really left to your imagination. Just use what you like, add what you have, taste the mixture before you freeze it and go from there. Good luck with your creations and happy summer!

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

www.californiamediterraneandiet.com