Paletas are Latin American ice pops made with fresh fruit along with fresh fruit juice and sometimes cream and served on a stick, just like a popsicle. I used to only see these pops sold from small ice cream carts in parks, but they have really exploded in popularity over the past few years and now you can find several different brands in the ice cream section of just about any market or grocery store. In Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, you’ll find dozens of recipes for authentic paletas that you can make at home, as well as recipes for several other types of popular, refreshing Latin American treats and drinks.
The introduction for the book covers the history of paletas, gives a little insight into why they’re so popular and also introduces tips and techniques for getting good results. The first chapter of the book serves up the ice pop recipes. All of them are clearly written with easy instructions, and most have incredibly short ingredient lists with healthy, natural ingredients that will undoubtedly inspire you to make a batch even before you finish flipping through the book. The paletas recipes range from those using fresh strawberries, watermelon and other common fruits to those using less common ingredients, such as hibiscus, tomato and avocado. There are also quite a few recipes that have a splash of alcohol for adults, and several that are nut or dairy based, rather than fruit-based.
As good as the pop recipes are, I definitely appreciated the section of the book on aguas frescas, refreshing fruit and juice coolers that I order often when out at some of my favorite Mexican and Latin restaurants, but have only rarely had a chance to try at home. The granita-like raspados are also easy to make and enjoyable to eat, with instructions that are just as simple as the pop recipes. The book is full of beautiful pictures that make the paletas look like works of art, thanks not only to the clarity of the images, but to the wonderfully vibrant colors of these authentic Mexican frozen treats.