My favorite way to beat the heat in the summer is with paletas. Essentially, they’re just a Mexican version of popsicles, and the best way to make them is by utilizing tropical fruit flavors with seasonal fruit in the grocery store.
One of my absolute favorites is paletas de mango. And most often in Mexico, you’ll find them sold with either chile powder suspended in the puree or the popsicle is dipped in it before eating. It gives a nice spicy and sort of salty kick that complements the sweetness of the mango.
Now, I promise that this recipe here is really not very spicy at all. The chile just adds depth of flavor that gives it a little something special. If you are really hesitant about adding the chile, you can either leave it out completely or reduce the amount by half. I put about 5 or 6 teaspoons in when I make these, and sometimes I feel like they could even use a little bit more–but that’s my personal preference. For most people, 4 teaspoons is just the right amount to taste the flavor but not really any of the heat.
A note about the chile powder: I like to use what’s called “chile para naranja,” which you should be able to find at just about any Latin grocer. If you can’t find it, you can also substitute with chile snack mixes for fruit such as Tajín (fine chile flakes with lime salt) or chilito en polvo, or reduce the chile to half and add the ground chile of your choice with a pinch of salt and sugar mixed into it. If you’re not very familiar with dried Mexican chiles, you can substitute regular paprika (just make sure it isn’t smoked paprika).
This recipe yields about 2.5 cups of puree and should make 8-10 small ice pops or 4-6 large ones, depending on what size popsicle molds you have. As you’ll see in the video, the mango is yellow, but once you add the chile powder, it’ll turn the puree orange. I made this entire recipe using only a sauce pan, popsicle mold and my Kenmore 56 oz stand blender.
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- 4 manila mangoes
- juice of 4 limes
- 4 tsp chile powder (or more according to taste)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar (preferably not processed white sugar)
- zest of 2 limes
In a sauce pan, bring the water, sugar and lime zest to a boil and then reduce heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavor of the lime zest and then remove from heat and let come to room temperature.
While it’s cooling, peel the mangoes and remove all the flesh from the pit. You can see in the video that I removed every last bit. The pit lies in the center of the mango and you’ll know you’re getting close to it when you hear a noise while cutting through the flesh. When you get close to the pit, you can just scrape it in a downward motion away from you to get the last bits off.
Put the mango flesh (which should be about 2.5 cups) into the blender with the lime juice, sugar syrup and chile powder.
Run on low or pulse on low for 10-15 seconds so that you get a puree that still has some small mango chunks in it.
Pour evenly into your favorite popsicle molds, making sure not to fill them all the way to the top; the popsicles will expand a little when they freeze, so you’ll want to leave a bit of room so they don’t spill over the top. Place them on an even surface in the freezer for at least 12 hours (more if you use bigger molds).
Once they’re frozen through, run the bottom of the mold under a gentle stream of warm water just enough to loosen them from the mold to pull out easily.
The only thing left to do is enjoy the very Mexican treat you just made!
- What’s your favorite flavor paleta?