My best friend and I have a running argument about what these sorts of desserts should be called. The term “Popsicle” makes her cringe, so she has always referred to them as “frozen juice pops.” I, however, always embraced “Popsicle,” brand name though it may be. Wikipedia indicates that “ice pop” is the technical term, but I can’t promise anything. Years of brand-name conditioning are hard to beat.
My friend Tammy suggested we make these pistachio pops the next time I came over. This isn’t usually something one can make in under an hour, but I had a secret weapon: an instant popsicle maker.
I don’t really have a need for instantaneous popsicles, and I’m generally too lazy for the babysitting required to pull these off, but this was kindly given to me as a gift and it comes in quite handy for situations like this. Of course, I managed to mess things up by remembering too late that the mold needed to be frozen for 24 hours. As a result, the Zoku froze for only eighteen hours, an oversight that was made quite clear when we, uh, tried to pull the pops out:
Yes, these popsicles have seen some things. But taste-wise, they were excellent. We used Aarti Sequoia’s recipe, though we made a few modifications, based partly on the comments and partly on Tammy’s unsubstantiated fear of evaporated milk. We used whole milk in place of both the evaporated milk and the cream, as the condensed milk seemed to provide enough creaminess. And it worked. The pops were equal parts icy and creamy. “Icy” generally isn’t a welcome adjective in the culinary world, but in a popsicle I find it refreshing. Anyone looking for a richer popsicle would probably prefer the cream, but for something light and summery, I’d say the milk is the best bet.
Reviewers had mentioned that the Earl Grey tea taste was too strong, but not believing such a thing could be possible, we used the full amount of tea bags the recipe called for (two are pictured below because we halved the recipe), and the taste was perfect. Tea-like, but not overwhelmingly so–we could still taste the pistachios (a welcome crunch) and the cardamom. I’m pleased with our substitutions, though I’m curious about what would have happened had we salted the pistachios–a nice sweet/salty balance, perhaps? I also would have liked to add vanilla, as I’m of the opinion that vanilla belongs in most things.
The second batch of these didn’t even make it out of the pop-maker; due to the fact that I’d deprived them of that (evidently crucial) six hours of freezing time, it refused to let the second batch come out of the molds at all. But we have no shame, so we ate them out of the molds to the best of our abilities, using the popsicle sticks to scrape away at the popsicles while we watched YouTube videos of literal children pulling perfect popsicles from the Zoku like professionals.
Next time I’ll probably just go with a simple mold. More survivors that way, I hope.
Earl Grey Pistachio Pops
Source: Adapted from Aarti Sequoia’s Pistachio Pops
- 2 cups + 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 14 ounces condensed milk
- Handful of pistachios, finely chopped
Put the 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan and let simmer over medium heat until it has reduced a bit. Add the tea bags (tops snipped) and whisk in the cardamom. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then turn the heat off. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
Strain the milk mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the remaining 1 cup of milk, condensed milk, and pistachios. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and let freeze overnight. Run molds over hot water to loosen and pop the popsicles free.