It may be September, but it’s still summer. My birthday falls on the first day of fall (puns), and knowing this I’m always a little sad when people disregard the summer in September. Pumpkin spice lattes may be all around us, but fall doesn’t begin until three weeks into September, and I prefer to give summer the respect it deserves. (Which, honestly, isn’t much, as summer is my least favorite season–all the more reason for me to wait until it really ends before I celebrate its demise.)
Enter this summery ice pop. Fruity and coconutty with a splash of vanilla, this popsicle is perfect for a warm summer day and can be easily adjusted depending on your coconut milk preferences. I like coconut milk, but I don’t like when it takes the place of all dairy in a dairy-based recipe. In times when I’m desperate for ice cream but find myself without cream, I’ve followed ice cream recipes that use coconut milk as the sole source of dairy, and I can never get past the extreme coconut-milky taste that permeates the entire dessert. Coconut milk is a wonderful thing, but I suppose I prefer its presence to be a bit more subtle.
Not to be dramatic, but this is kind of the culmination of my life’s work.
A few years ago my mother found the Friendly’s Wattamelon Roll (obnoxious misspelling and all) at a Super Walmart. This was a big deal. We hadn’t seen the likes of this elusive roll since we lived in New York in the early 90’s. The fact that even I have a fuzzy memory of this roll–I, the youngest of the family, who was three when we made the move from New York to California–is a testament to how deep this dessert runs in our family history.
While eating the newly discovered roll, I wondered why I never came across watermelon-flavored sherbet. Why was Friendly’s the lone pioneer?
That set me on a quest to one day recreate the watermelon sherbet in this roll.
I was fifteen when my best friend, Kate, told me about this ice cream. She was telling me about having dinner at her then-boyfriend’s house the night before. She glossed over the evening itself and skipped straight to the dessert, which, really, is the most important part of any story. The dessert, she said, was strawberry cheesecake ice cream, with chunks of cheesecake in it. This was a new concept to me and I knew I needed this ice cream in my life immediately. That’s when she told me it was Safeway brand, so the Vons down the street would have it.
Because my parents weren’t home, my only option was my older brother. I knocked on his door, poked my head in, and asked if he would drive me to Vons for strawberry cheesecake ice cream. I gave an attempt at a winning smile.
It did not work.
I dwelled on the ice cream for a few minutes before deciding I had no choice but to walk the mile to Vons myself. So I set off on the journey to Vons, breaking into a run halfway there because cheesecake chunks. In ice cream.