I’m a big fan of accidental traditions.
Here’s a recent example: my boyfriend and I were about to celebrate 3 years of dating when I remembered that last year I got caviar for the occasion so I thought, “Hey! That was fun, why not do it again?”
Here’s a less aggressive one: last Memorial Day Weekend, I made Smitten Kitchen’s swirled berry yogurt popsicles. They were beautiful and seem healthy thanks to Greek yogurt and blackberries, even though they actually contain a load of sugar.
Then, a few weeks ago Deb shared another popsicle recipe in her weekly email newsletter (which you should subscribe to if you don’t already) and I decided to make them for a MDW cookout without realizing I had done the exact same thing last year.
But I think it’s a pretty good one. I mean, what better way to kick off the unofficial start of summer than with a simple childhood treat made extremely complicated? And if gourmet popsicles become my signature cookout contribution, I think I can live with it.
This year, my popsicle of choice was Deb’s banana, nutella and salted pistachio popsicles because seriously, what’s not to love about those ingredients??
I just have a teeny, tiny bone to pick with her. Which is this: she makes it sound super easy, like, “oh just squiggle a little nutella into each popsicle mold.” HEADS UP: it’s not that easy.*
She has you make a makeshift icing bag for the Nutella out of a ziplock with a corner cut off, but unlike with icing, you cannot simply pipe Nutella. It’s thick and it’s sticky and the popsicle molds** (which I bought on Deb’s recommendation) are fairly narrow, so the squiggles of Nutella stick to the side and you have to push them down with a spoon. **Sigh**
All griping aside, even if they don’t look as beautiful as you think they will (less perfect little layers of banana pureé and Nutella, more haphazard Nutella streaks), they taste amazing. Whoever first froze Nutella (was it you Deb?) deserves a Nobel prize.
One last note: I didn’t grind my pistachios finely enough. They really should be a powder in order to get a nice even coating. However, I had no excuse. I put them in a ziplock and pounded them with a rolling pin and it was a lot of fun–kind of a stress reliever–so next time I’ll really go to town.
Banana, Nutella and pistachio popsicles
(From Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 7 popsicles (such an odd number, I didn’t believe it at first but it’s true)
1/3 cup shelled roasted salted pistachios
4 large bananas, ripe but not mushy
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Nutella (or more, licking the spoon optional)
Grind pistachios to a powder using mortar and pestle, or, recommended, place pistachios in a sealed ziplock bag and beat with a rolling pin. Set aside.
Peel bananas and slice them into chunks. Puree them in food processor or blender with vanilla and cinnamon–or any flavorings you like. You’ll have about 2 cups puree.
Scoop Nutella into a small plastic bag and snip off the corner. For getting the Nutella in there, it’s easiest to put the plastic bag into a glass and fold the top of the Ziplock over the sides, then spoon the Nutella in (remember, Nutella is sticky). Spoon a little banana into each Popsicle mold, then squeeze in Nutella, pushing down with a spoon as necessary. Repeat a couple times–I ended up with three layers of banana and two of Nutella.
Fill molds to about 1/4-inch before the top, to leave room for expansion when freezing.
If using molds that contain sticks or hold wooden ones in place, put in lids and insert sticks, then freeze until solid (Deb says about 5 hours). If you’re using cups or glasses because you’re super DIY/hipster, freeze until popsicles are just beginning to set (about 1/12 to 2 hours), then insert sticks and freeze until solid.
Once frozen, spread pistachios out on a plate. Unmold popsicles–you may need to let them sit at room temperature for a bit for easier removal, or, if you’re impatient like me, run them under hot water. (Note however that mine didn’t come out cleanly.) Then, roll them all or partially in the nuts.
Enjoy, and repeat next Memorial Day.
*: Ok, I just re-read the recipe and I guess squiggle isn’t exactly a technical term, and her pictures clearly demonstrate haphazard streaks of Nutella and not the beautiful, clean stripes I was envisioning in my angry fantasies. Sorry Deb.
**: As an aside, these molds do create a quintessentially perfect Popsicle silhouette.
Banana, nutella and salted pistachio popsicles: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/07/banana-nutella-and-salted-pistachio-popsicles/