Bratty Little Mocoso Snot-nosed Kids

If you don't want kids to like you, then don't, please don't make these Mexican-style paletas.
If it's fun to scare little children with your nasty presencia. If the mere thought of living and dying alone, unloved and unmourned, amidst the stench of rotten half-eaten Mc Donald's hamburgers, leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside—then it is a very foolish thing to even think of making these delicious and healthful treats made with fresh spring and summertime fruits like mango, watermelon and coconut and pineapple. You see, if you make these paletas, all those screaming little brats with their mocoso—snot-nosed faces will come flocking to your house and you will never have a moment's peace. Why ruin a good thing?
Well, I've come here to destroy your summer's day and the rest of your poor miserable life as you know it.

Because I'm going to take you on a fantastic culinary journey to Tacumbo, a town in Michoacán, México, where the townsfolk have erected a statue of a giant popsicle to honor the Birthplace of The World's Best Paletas. Then I will fly you back to relive those chunky peanutbutter smog-filled days of my Los Angeles childhood, where my own young self is sitting on the curb, looking hot and bored out of my little mind. That is until El Paletero (The Popsicle Man), with his dark Indian features wearing his white native garb and huaraches on his feet, looking so out of place as to make one think that he was beamed up and has now landed in another world (he has), comes walking by with his cart, shouting ¡paletas! ¡paletas! at the top of his lungs. You will see my look of amazement when I sink my teeth into those natural tasting paletas made with fresh fruit, some with fresh chile bits, others cool and creamy like the one studded all over with huge pieces of pecan. Next, you will taste my madrecita's own sweet paletas made from a simple mixture of smashed bananas, whole milk with a little bit of sugar and vanilla, making my sisters and me the happiest muchachitas en todo el mundo. And then perhaps you will tell me, if a life with no little children with smeared paletas faces in it is a really a happy one after all.

But, if you enjoy the pitter-patter of little patitas. If you love being told, "I love you," by a honest little person who has no desire to impress you. And, if that somehow makes you believe that, despite your foul disposition and changeable ways, you are not such a bad person after all, only then will you be truly deserving of a fresh fruit paleta inspired by the tasty little masterpieces of Tacumbo.
(Dedicated to my own not-so-small-anymore sobrinas. Yes, they are the beautiful young girls in theses photos. I wanted to get them in touch with their Inner Mariachi Girl by photographing them wearing my sombrero and my charra suit. All play musical instruments. All of them, together with my sobrinito, are sweet and smart and a credit to mis hermanas—my sisters and their spouses. All of them are mi corazón. May they one day cook Mexican food just as delicious as their little abuelita who is longer here.)
Gracias to my brother-in-law I.G. for letting me post his picture of his daughter playing her violin.

Mango, Watermelon and Coconut-Pineapple Paletas

These are not recipes per se, but guides to making as little or as many paletas as you want. Of course, you can always double the recipe if you wish, especially if you have lots of slightly overripe fruit like that left-over watermelon that you have in the frig right now. If you not have any popsicles molds on hand, you can easily improvise by using small paper cups. If you want the popsicles sticks to stand up straight, simply fold some aluminum foil over the top rim of each cup, make a small center slit with a sharp knife, and insert a popsicle stick (available in supermarkets or craft stores.) To loosen the paletas from the cups or molds, just run them over with warm water from the faucet for a minute or so.

MANGO PALETAS:2 ripe mangos, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
Thick Simple Syrup (recipe to follow)
1 lime
popsicle molds; OR, small paper cups, popsicle sticks, and aluminum foil
Thick Simple Syrup Recipe: Combine 4 tablespoons granulated cane sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and set aside.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the skin of each mango. Then, slice the flesh as close to the pit as possible. Chop the mangos into very small pieces. Take half of the chopped mango and whirl in a food processor or blender until smooth. The mixture will be thick. Pour the mixture into a bowl and dilute with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add the rest of the mango to the mixture. Add Thick Simple Syrup, one tablespoon at a time, until it is as sweet as you want (it should not be too sweet.) Pour into molds or cups.
Place them in the freezer and wait about 3 hours or until frozen.

Makes about four servings.
Sprinkle some chili powder over the paletas for a taste you will just love, I promise!

About 2 cups fresh watermelon, chopped into smallish pieces
Thick Simple Syrup (recipe above)

1 lime

Combine the chopped watermelon and a squirt of lime. Add Thick Simple Syrup, one tablespoon at a time, until it is as sweet as you want (it should not be too sweet.)
Pour into the molds or cups. Place in the freezer and wait about 3 hours or until frozen.
Makes about four servings.

COCONUT-PINEAPPLE PALETAS:Equal portions of sweetened shredded coconut and fresh/frozen/or canned chopped pineapple—about 1 cup shredded coconut and 1 cup pineapple for this recipe.
About 2 tablespoons whipping cream (my favorite), half-and-half, milk or any other dairy product you happen to have on hand just to moisten and bind together the ingredients. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add teeny bit of pineapple juice. No need to add any sugar or Simple Syrup.
Combine all ingredients. Pour into mold or cups. Place in the freezer and wait about 3 hours or until frozen.
Serves four.


Anonymous said...

Hi Clem,
The girls look beautiful. We are looking forward to testing out the paleta recipes. I'm sure they will be wonderful. There's just one thing the girls want me to tell you: "we are not bratty, or mocosas!" :) [heh-heh!] Mom left us some wonderful memories, and I'm sure making these with my kids will be memorable (and delicious)as well. Thanks, E

Clementina said...

Hola, Mi Hermanita (Little Sis)!
Tell my sobrinitas "mocosas-no, (delightfully) bratty--yes!"

You are right, Mom was The True Queen of La Cocina, and like her, you are the best cook of la familia. I hope that your little girls will follow in your and Mom's footsteps. Have fun with las paletas!
Con much carino,
Your Big Sis

Anonymous said...

Hi Tia,
So that's where those pictures ended up! Ha ha. We will definitely be making these this summer-- they sound so good! I wish you were here to eat them with us though.
Oh, and my little brother says thanks for mentioning him too. =)
Love, V.

Clementina said...

Hola, Chiquita!
Notice how I didn't show your lovely carita? I know how shy you are, like me (ha!).
Try the coconut-pineapple paletas. To die for!
Tia 8-)

Pearmama said...

I just love your blog. Your recipes always put a big smile on my face. The thought of a delicious homemade paleta--mmmmmm, so much better than the nasty popsicles we ate today, a hundred times over.

I have some of those molds, too. I'm gonna try them. The coconut-pineapple...swoon!

Clementina said...

Hola Pearmama!
Thanks for visiting, AND thanks for making me laugh everytime I visit your blog.
Oh, and I'm with you on hating "conversate" and other non-words!

Carolyn said...

It has been a while since I have visited your blog and sabes que? I regret it! It is hillarious, informative & Mexican! All that I love, rolled into one flauta of deliciousness! Eeee, I am gonna go get all the ingredients to make your PALETAS!! Thank you!!

Clementina said...

Hola, Carolyn (or should I say Carolina?,
Just when I think that my blog is the most boring ever, someone like you comes around and encourages me to keep going.
Un millon de gracias.

Lisa Renata said...

hay, hay, hay...the memories! Love the this piece and I love paletas de fruta.

p.s I also remember waiting for the paletero passing by or the churrito man. Love those churritos with lots and lots of chile!

Clementina said...

Hola, Lisa!
I love churros, but I am afraid to make them. My efforts to make them resulteed in un desastre.

Live.Love.Eat said...

AWESOME!!!!! I see pops like this around and I don't know why I haven't made them at home yet. I am silly!!!!