It’s been hot. Super hot. Like +110 F hot, and it’s only June..... While I wouldn’t discriminate against a frozen treat any time of the year, I especially crave them in the summer time. Since I cannot just run to any store or shop & purchase a frozen dessert that would fit within my unique dietary guidelines, I have to make my own. I have a feeling my ice cream bowl will be working overtime, if only I can find a way to clear enough freezer space to actually freeze it. But, I did manage to clear enough space for my popsicle mold, so that’s where I’m beginning this summer.
Paletas were not something I’d heard of until I moved to the southern border of Texas--they’re the Mexican version of a popsicle, only not usually as sweet as their American counterpart. We’re able to get paletas in just about any local gas station or grocery store & they come in much more interesting flavors than the regular popsicles I was use to seeing. Coconut. Watermelon. Pineapple. Pecan. Rice Pudding. Pina Colada. Tamarind. Fruit flavors spiced with chile. (The rice pudding ones use to be my favorite....).
Sweet potatoes have become one of my staple foods--most often either baked or roasted. Since paletas already come in such interesting flavors, I thought that adding sweet potato variation to the mix wasn’t such a stretch :)
Traditional paletas aren’t super sugary & my sweet potato paletas follow suite--they get their limited sweetness from the sweet potato & the apple juice. Even with the limited sweetness, they are cold & very refreshing, especially on a hot day when you’re just dying for an ice cream.
If I wasn’t following a sugar-free diet, I’d add a couple tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. Or maybe some candied pecans. If you prefer a creamier pop, adding some yogurt (whether sweetened, or plain) would also work.
One final note: I made & styled/photographed these sweet potato paletas while watching Diane Cu & Todd Porter of “White on Rice Couple” give a 3 day food styling & photography workshop on Creative Live. While the presentation isn’t free anymore (unless CL rebroadcasts it), I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in furthering your photography skills. I learned some fun new tips & was reminded of some things I should have been remembering anyway.
behind-the-scenes image of shooting these paletas while watching Creative Live
Sweet Potato Paletas
Yields approximately 12 pops, depending on mold size
1 large sweet potato (mine weighed just under 1lb, pre-baking & around 12 oz after)
4 Tbl Apple Juice
1 1/2 c (13.8 oz) Coconut Milk (beverage, not the culinary coconut milk from a can)
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla
optional: sweetener of choice (especially if you’re not following a sugar free diet).... I’d use a couple tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, if it was allowed for me. OR add a little vanilla coconut yogurt.
- Wash sweet potato & pierce the skin with a fork or sharp knife. Place sweet potato into an oven safe dish & roast at 350 F until fork-tender. (Mine took approximately 60 minutes in our toaster oven).
- Once cooked, let the sweet potato cool completely (I put mine in the refrigerator overnight.
- After the potato has cooled, remove the skin & add to a blender or food processor. Add the apple juice, coconut milk, cinnamon & vanilla. Process on high speed until well blended. Add additional coconut milk if the mixture is too thick.
- Pour into your popsicle molds, leaving some headspace at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.
- Place in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours of freezing, insert the sticks. Continue to freeze for an additional 10-24 hours.
- To unmold, fill a large bowl with warm water. Set the frozen mold into the warm water for 30 seconds & remove the mold. Gently lift the paletas out of the mold & place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Top with a second layer of parchment & allow to freeze for 30 additional minutes.
- After the additional freezing, the pops are ready to be consumed. If not eating right away, wrap them well & store in the freezer.
For more information on paletas, this article is really helpful!