The kids wanted a mango pop today, and I wanted to try something more interesting than a straight juice pop. For some reason, it took a long time for the obvious answer to pop into my head — a filled pop!
Filled pops are one of the types of popsicles at which the Zoku is purported to excel. The pops freeze so quickly that it’s very easy to create an outer shell to fill with a contrasting flavor and color. Sure, you can try to do it with traditional pop molds, but I’d imagine it would take some doing (and a good memory) to time the shells right. With the Zoku, the technique was simple, if not entirely foolproof.
Since this is my first “complicated” pop, I thought I’d do a more detailed recipe. I still don’t have real measurements to offer because I have not measured anything yet. As my pops get more complicated, I imagine that might change.
I started with my ingredients assembled:
First step, the Mango shell. You fill the molds with the shell material, wait for the edges to freeze, then suck out the remaining liquid with a straw (if you’re cheap like me. Otherwise, Zoku sells a tiny siphon for removing the excess liquid). I poured the Mango juice with the plan that while the outer shell was freezing, I’d rinse out my measuring cup (which I use because it has a spout for neat pouring) and assemble the cream filling.
Lesson 1 — Mango juice freezes fast! I did not have time to assemble the filling, and I certainly did not have time to run upstairs and grab my camera off the desk where I’d left it. As a result, the shells turned out somewhat thicker than they should have been.
Lesson 2– if you a frazzled because your outer shell is freezing too fast,a straw is perhaps not the best tool for making filled pops. You are likely to get flustered and allow some of the sucked-out juice to fall back into the pop maker. Good thing I was making these for my kids, who probably gave me any germs I have in the first place. If I were making these for people to whom I did not give birth, I’d probably spring for a siphon. I think that our turkey baster (the only other potentially appropriate tool I had) would have been too large for the narrow molds.
Anyway, once I got the innards sucked out, I filled the rest with the cream mixture. I used half-and-half for this, with a tiny bit of sugar and splash of vanilla. I think probably I could have used plain milk, since the mango juice overpowered any flavor the center may have had.
This is what they looked like while freezing. You can see I was still a little flustered when I poured the pop on the left — it’s kind of a mess:
The others look pretty, though. As they froze, I was pleased to see that the cream filling peeked out a little from the shell at the bottom. They looked like real creamsicles!
Here’s the finished product:
Flavor-wise, these were not my favorite pops. I thought mango and cream would be a great combination, but the pop ended up being less than the sum of its parts. The mango flavor drowned out the cream, and there wasn’t enough filling to effect a meaningful texture change. That’s probably my fault, though — the sides and tops of the pops could have been thinner if I’d been more prepared to suck out the middles sooner. As it was, I needed to eat halfway down the pop to get enough contrast for a (semi-decent) photo of the filling:
Still, I had fun with the idea of a filled pop, and I will definitely be trying them again.
Tomorrow I’ll try my first “health food” pop. Can I make a delicious pop with spinach? Stay tuned…