I made these roasted strawberry pops a few mornings ago with the windows open for the first time in what feels like forever. Despite a fairly mild Winter, it felt good to finally fling back the draperies and let some fresh air inside. Abundant sunshine and an invigorating breeze whisping through the house inspired some Spring cleaning, and I was suddenly tearing my way through a to-do list, armed with the vacuum, scrubbers and dust cloths, purging closets and decluttering, and had loaded up four boxes of giveaway items in no time.
Somewhere in the midst of my crazy cleaning spree, I happened upon the popsicle maker, hiding in a closet since last year, and decided to roast a big heap of berries for some sweet, refreshing strawberries and cream popsicles.
Roasting the berries first caramelizes and concentrates the strawberry flavor, as well as cooks away some of their natural liquid, reducing iciness in the final pops. I layered the maple-sweetened, roasted strawberries with creamy coconut milk, for vegan, dairy-free popsicles, but you can easily use whatever dairy you have on hand; thick Greek yogurt, sweet whipping cream, or even buttermilk, which would add a nice, creamy tang to offset the sweetness of the strawberries (and a great way to use up an awkward amount of leftover buttermilk).
Just about any type of berries or fruit can be roasted for these pops – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums… – just pick the sweetest, in-season fruit you can find, and adjust the cooking time as needed. The hardest part of this whole recipe is not eating all the roasted berries right off the baking pan… not to mention waiting four tortuous hours for these indulgent, fruity popsicles to fully freeze. Unless maybe you’re blessed with more patience and self-control than me? Maybe…
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2–3 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey), divided
- 1–1/2 cups full fat canned coconut milk*
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- small pinch fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the strawberries in an even layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Drizzle lightly with the balsamic vinegar, if using. Roast until the strawberries are soft and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a bowl (including juices) and let cool to room-temperature.
- Add the roasted strawberries and 1/4 cup of maple syrup to a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times to combine. The mixture should still be a bit chunky, with small bites of fruit throughout.
- In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the coconut milk (or dairy of choice) and the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup, adding more or less sweetener as needed, to taste. Remember that the sweetness will mellow once frozen. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- For blended popsicles: Add the cream mixture to the food processor/blender and pulse until just combined. Divide between 10 popsicle molds and freeze until set, about 4 hours. After 30 minutes, place a popsicle stick in each pop, and continue freezing.
- For layered/swirled popsicles: Spoon a tablespoon or two of the strawberry mixture into the bottom of each popsicle mold. Top with a bit of the cream, and continue layering until all the molds are evenly filled. Freeze until set, about 4 hours. After 30 minutes, place a popsicle stick in each pop, and continue freezing.
- To remove the popsicles: Place the popsicle mold in a large pot of warm water for 10-15 seconds, then pull gently on each popsicle stick until the pops release.
Using coconut milk keeps these pops vegan, but feel free to use whatever dairy you have on hand. Greek yogurt or heavy cream or buttermilk are all good choices, but look for full-fat/whole milk options, for the creamiest popsicles.