You will note that there’s no sugar in this recipe, which means that you need to be thoughtful about the chocolate you use, because that’s what will bring sweetness. Brown calls only for “bittersweet chocolate,” but when I tried using 70% cacao chocolate, which I think of as a pretty standard percentage for bittersweet, it made for a very bittersweet popsicle. More bitter than sweet. Brandon loved it, and June ate it, but it wasn’t really my thing. I like to combine two types of chocolate for this recipe: Valrhona “Jivara” 40% milk chocolate, and Valrhona “Manjari” 64% dark chocolate. I use four ounces, or 113 grams, of each. (Yes, they are wildly expensive! I know. We buy them in 3-kg bags at the restaurant, and I regularly steal some for my home use. I am a lucky bastard.) If you don’t want to shell out like that, Scharffen Berger also has a good 41% milk chocolate, and my guess is that it would blend nicely here with either the 62% semisweet or the 70% bittersweet. Whatever chocolate you choose, I wouldn’t recommend going above 64%, at the highest.
And as for popsicle molds, I use these.
Finely chop the chocolate, and put it in a medium bowl. (If you have a bowl with a pour spout, use that! Perfect.)
In a medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and cocoa. Whisk well to dissolve the cocoa, and bring just to a simmer, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat, let sit for a few seconds, and then pour it over the chocolate. Let stand undisturbed for 2 or 3 minutes; then whisk to combine well. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Divide between popsicle molds, and freeze until hard.
Yield: 8 to 10 popsicles, depending on the size of your molds.
A word about popsicle molds: I use these silicone ones, which I learned about from the book Modern Art Desserts, by Caitlin Freeman. (And high five to my talented friend Leah Rosenberg, who called my attention to the Zurier Pops recipe and inspired me to get these molds. Leah, when I bought strawberries last week, I meant to make Zurier Pops, but I got lazy. But I still will. I swear.) Anyway, if you’re using silicone molds like mine, which are soft and pliable, don’t forget to set the molds on a sheet pan before filling them! That way, they’ll be easy to transport to the freezer. And don’t forget to insert the popsicle sticks into the mold before filling, either. It all sounds obvious, but you never know.
I also have this popsicle mold, but we loaned it to a friend (ahem, Katie), so I haven’t been able to try it yet. I’ll report back. I have a feeling it’ll be better for very liquid-y pops than the silicone molds, which might leak. Lastly, if you’re using vodka shooter glasses, which is what I used when we served popsicles at Delancey, you’ll want to pour the mixture into the glasses; freeze them for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture begins to set; insert the popsicle sticks; and then freeze them until they’re hard. To serve, briefly run the sides of the glass under tepid water to loosen the popsicle, and gently twist the stick as you lift.
I should tell you that these popsicles are not as smooth, texture-wise, as churned frozen yogurt – or, for that matter, as commercial popsicles. They’ll be a little icy, even if you use the kirsch or vodka. The texture doesn’t bother me. I like it.
Trim the green leaves from the strawberries, and quarter them (or, if they’re small, halve them; it doesn’t really matter much). Toss in a bowl with the sugar and kirsch or vodka, if using, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Set aside at room temperature for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Scrape the strawberries and their liquid into the jar of a blender, add the yogurt and lemon juice, and process until smooth. If you want to remove the seeds – though I usually just leave them be – set a strainer over a bowl (or other vessel) with a pour spout. Press the mixture through the strainer to remove seeds. Divide the mixture among popsicle molds of your choosing, and freeze until hard.
Yield: depends on your molds. I get about 8 when I use my 4-ounce silicone molds.
These pops are perfectly tangy and perfectly sweet, and the best part is, the yogurt flavor really shines. Be sure to use whole-milk yogurt, not low-fat or nonfat. It tastes better, and it makes for a better tasting popsicle. I buy my popsicle sticks at Fred Meyer, but you can also find them at craft stores.
Lastly, I should tell you that these popsicles will not be as smooth, texture-wise, as churned frozen yogurt. They will be a little icy – you know, like a popsicle.
Combine all ingredients in the jar of a blender, and process until smooth. Set a strainer over a bowl (or other vessel) with a pour spout. Press the mixture through the strainer to remove seeds. Divide mixture among popsicle molds of your choosing. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture begins to set; then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until very hard.
To serve, briefly run the sides of the mold under tepid water to loosen the popsicle, and gently twist or wiggle the popsicle stick as you lift.
Note: I’ve also made this recipe with blackberries, and that’s very good, too. Keep in mind, though, that you may need to adjust the amount of sugar or lemon juice.
Yield: 10 to 11 vodka shooter-size pops