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Hard to believe, but it will be redhotcentre‘s 10th birthday in July this year! At first this space was designed to be a travel log, then an online journal, and now finally a recipe blog. In the first few years of posting recipes, I would sometimes only make things once before taking photos and uploading them. But then, once friends actually started making my recipes, I became a lot more careful about getting a recipe just right before sharing! These days they are ‘tried-and-tested’; in the old days not so much!

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Some of the older recipes needed re-visiting, and as apricots are in season, I started with my Apricot Lassi Icy Poles. This time, I wanted to use fresh fruit, rather than stewed. I also wanted them to be sweeter, and less icy. Luckily, I had done my research and discovered that the secret to a smooth, creamy texture is the addition of simple syrup (thanks, Smitten Kitchen)! With a few tweaks here and there, I’ve come up with a slightly more complex but oh, so much more delicious version of the same.

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If you’ve never made simple syrup before, don’t be daunted! It’s quite straightforward, and will be the key to making your ice confections creamier… dreamier. Once the syrup is made, it’s simply a matter of mixing that in with tart, creamy yoghurt and then layering that with fresh pureed apricots. Place the filled moulds in the freezer, and your work is done; all that is left now is to wait. And believe me when I say it’ll be worth the wait… these are a summery dream to eat and only slightly unhealthy.

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Sweet Spiced Apricot and Yoghurt Icy Poles
Tart, creamy yoghurt flavoured with cardamom sugar syrup pairs beautifully with bright, orange fresh pureed apricot – a summery dream to eat and only slightly unhealthy.

Makes 10

Ingredients
2 cups (approx. 300g) chopped apricots (tinned apricots are a suitable substitute)
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10g (2 tablespoons) whole cardamom pods
½ cup water
½ cup white (granulated) sugar
1 ½ cups plain, unsweetened Greek-style yoghurt
½ cup crushed pistachios, to coat (optional)

Method
Place chopped apricots in a glass bowl; add honey and lemon juice and stir to combine. Set aside.

Place cardamom pods and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat, then add sugar, stirring until fully dissolved. Gently simmer for 5 minutes more. Strain out pods and chill syrup completely. You can do this in the fridge, but it’s quicker if you set the bowl of syrup in a larger bowl of iced water. Within 15 minutes, it should be quite cold to the touch.

Whisk yogurt and 1/3 cup chilled syrup together; set aside.

Place the apricot mixture, and any juices that have accumulated, in a blender and process until desired texture (you should have about 1 cup puree). Assemble icy poles by alternately pouring a little of the yoghurt mixture, then a little of the apricot mixture into each mould, repeating as desired until you reach ½ centimetre (¼ inch) from the tops (to leave room for expansion as they freeze).

If using conventional moulds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional moulds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

To remove icy poles from moulds, dip in a basin of warm water for a few seconds, and then pull and twist to unmould. Once out, dip in crushed pistachios and devour immediately or place on a tray lined with plastic wrap. Re-freeze until firm again then package individually in zip lock bags. That way, you free up more space in your freezer, and can keep making more awesome flavoured icy poles throughout summer!

Note. These will be just as nice (quicker, but not quite as pretty) if you process ALL the ingredients together in the blender before pouring into the moulds.

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

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