Prickly Pear Popsicles with a Honey Touch

The strangest thing has happened this evening, we had a thunderstorm with rain and lightning.  Now that in itself is not that strange, cause we have plenty of these in end September and then later in the year.  The strangest thing is that we are still in August, and it usually never rains in August. Ever. Not a drop.

Despite the refreshing rain that came with the storm, the temperature turned the fresh air back into humidity, which just makes me feel like staying in front of my fan and not move. Unless, I can move said fan with me in the kitchen and whip up some nice, sweet, cool popsicles.

Fruit of choice today is something I do not eaten very often, although you can consider these very local and typically Maltese.   I saw them at the supermarket last week, and thought that maybe I could discover the prickly pear a little more than the local “Bajtra” or Prickly Pear liqueur that is custom to Malta.  The fruit itself  has a very unique composition of nutrients, including high levels of vitamin C, B-family vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and dietary fiber. Cactus pear pulp consists of 85 per cent water, 15 per cent carbohydrates, Vitamin C, glucose and fructose. It is very high in fibre and low in calories.

After a little research online, I based myself on a recipe for Pear Sorbet from George Duran on the Food Network.  Common practice, I tasted a lot and tweaked here and there before being happy with the end result that is now nice cooling in my freezer.

The recipe is made in 2 steps; first we make the syrup, then we make the sorbet.

Ingredients:

  • 300 gr Prickly Pears – tip: if you can buy them cleaned and peeled do so. Trust me!
  • 1-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of Sugar
  • 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of Water

Method

First we make simple syrup out of the tablespoons of sugar and water.  You simply add these to a small cooking pan, and whilst stirring, bring these to the boil together on a medium heat.  Once the mix boils, take it off the heat and leave on the side to cool.

If your prickly pears do not come cleaned and peeled, this needs to be done first. Be careful for the pins, and not the large clearly there ones, but the small ones in the fuzz on the skin –  these are like small needles, so please wear a good pair of gloves when you handle these fruits.  Slice off the ends and discard.  Cut the peel over length and peel off the skin carefully, so you are only left with the fruit meat and the seeds.

Take food processor or a blender and toss in the now cleaned and peeled prickly pears.  Blend till smooth.  Taste your mixture for sweetness and flavour.  Add on 1 table spoon of simple syrup and 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice, stir well and taste again.  Add these on bit by bit till you arrive at the required sweetness. Then strain this mix carefully through a thin sieve or a cheese cloth, so you strain out all the seeds and are left with a smooth puree.

Take your popsicle moulds and add on a few drops of honey in the tip of each mould, for a honey surprise.  Then carefully poor in the smooth pear puree and place in the sticks.

Freeze for min. 6 hours to overnight to make sure they are nice and cool.  Enjoy!

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