Cucumber +mint popsicles
Popsicles, ice pops, ice blocks or ice lollies – whatever you call them, they’re up there as a favourite in New York’s sweet frozen arsenal to beat the summer heat. Carts and stands take up seasonal residence in every big park, food fair and flea market, so they’re always on hand when you want something light and refreshing. The city is great like that.
People’s Pops, which also turns out shaved-to-order ice drenched in housemade fruit syrup, is one of the biggest players, along with La Newyorkina, which is the best in my book and specialises in the wonderful Mexican street food variety known as paletas. My best friend Mel, a popsicle-lover who visited over summer, couldn’t resist each time we saw one and together we sampled a rainbow of inventive flavours: mango-chilli, fresh coconut, sour cherry, rhubarb-jasmine and more.
These delectable cucumber, mint and lemon popsicles follow New York’s lead with seasonal produce and little else, and taste blissfully pure and fresh.
165 g (6 oz/3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
375 ml (121/2 fl oz/11/2 cups) water
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 (about 500 g/1 lb 2 oz) telegraph cucumbers, ends trimmed, sliced
2–3 mint sprigs (preferably with small leaves), leaves picked
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium–high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Stir in the lemon juice.
Place the cucumber and sugar syrup in a food processor and process to a fine puree, then pass through a fine sieve, pressing to extract the liquid. Discard the solids.
Divide the mint leaves among six 100 ml (31/2 fl oz) popsicle moulds, then pour over the cucumber liquid (there may be a little left over) and insert a stick in each. Freeze for 3 hours or until frozen, then serve.