Quick, can you guess what is shaped like a heart, and may also be good for your heart? Since research seems to indicate that pomegranates can fight heart disease, my frozen pomegranate lollipops fit the bill quite nicely! Lucky enough to receive a few bottles of POM juice to play around with, I knew that blood-red elixir was bound for a special V-Day dessert the moment it landed on my door step.
Though Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday that I typically celebrate, it does lend itself to a variety of fun treats that I’d otherwise have no excuse to create, and any reason to get into the kitchen is good enough for me. The first experiment resulted in these simple yet crowd-pleasing pops, complete with crisp chocolate shells and vibrant pink interiors. A healthier alternative to the generally cream- and butter-soaked bon bons that one might give, I think such a carefully constructed morsel would make a much more thoughtful gift to someone you care for. Plus, who can resist food on a stick?
Eat your heart out or just give it away; There are plenty of options for such symbolic sweets, whether romantic or macabre!
Pom Ice Cream Pops
Meat of 1 Coconut
1 1/2 Cups 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 Cup Agave Nectar
1 14-Ounce Can Sliced Beets, Drained
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
To make the ice cream centers, simply toss all of the ingredients from the coconut through the salt into your food processor or blender. Thoroughly puree, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically, until the mixture is completely smooth. Be patient; this could take between 4 – 10 minutes, depending on how powerful your machine is. Once perfectly blended and creamy, carefully pour the mixture into the indentations of a small, heart-shaped silicon mold. Place on a level surface in your freezer, and let rest for at least 6 hours or overnight, until frozen solid.
Pour any excess ice cream base into an air-tight container, and store in the freezer as well. You can scoop this just like any normal ice cream after about 24 hours, no churning necessary! Bear in mind that it does become more solid the longer you leave it, however.
Prepare your magic shell and lay out a silpat-lined baking sheet to place your finished pops on.
Removing one heart from the mold at a time, carefully but firmly insert a lollipop stick into the bottom of the shape, pushing it straight in without twisting or jiggling it, as this will elongate the opening and make it more likely to fall off later. Dip the whole heart into the magic shell quickly, immersing the pop a little ways up the stick as well to help “glue” it in place. Let the excess chocolate drip off, and place the finished pop on the silpat. Repeat with the remaining hearts, pausing between every two or three to return all of the ice cream hearts to the freezer for 15 minutes, to make sure they don’t get too soft and become difficult to work with.
Stash the whole baking sheet in the freezer until you’re ready to serve the pops.
Eat immediately after removing from the freezer; these hearts melt fast!