Why It Works
- A touch of gelatin gives the popsicles a tender, icy bite.
- Adding a measured amount of ice to the hot base quickly chills and dilutes it.
- Malic acid is added to the chili salt for a mouthwatering hit of acid.
If you grew up on the salty and spicy tamarind-flavored candy Pelon Pelo Rico, then you'll love these popsicles, which are inspired by the sticky, sweet treat. The biggest challenge of this recipe is procuring the ingredients, but you can get most of them online. Palm sugar adds a caramelized sweetness to the tart tamarind concentrate that flavors these pops. Just before serving they're dipped in a perky chili salt spiked with malic acid for a tongue curling bite.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup (120ml) room temperature water and set aside to bloom.
Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the palm sugar into small pieces. In a small sauce pot, combine the palm sugar with 1 cup (240ml) water and heat, stirring occasionally, just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture and tamarind concentrate. Add an additional 8 ounces (240g) ice by weight or 1 cup of ice water by volume to dilute and chill the popsicle base.
Divide evenly among 10 (3-fluid-ounce) popsicle molds and freeze until just beginning to firm, about 30 minutes. Insert popsicle sticks and continue freezing until completely solid, about 8 hours. To un-mold, dunk molds in hot tap water for a few seconds and jiggle sticks to release. Wrap individually in plastic and freeze for up to 3 weeks.
For the chili salt, in a small bowl combine the cayenne, sugar, salt, and malic acid. Dip the edge of each popsicle into the chili salt before serving.
Malic acid is a natural fruit acid. It has a softer acidity than citric acid, providing just enough tart punch without actually punching you in the mouth.