It is nearly the end of March and I still feel like Christmas has just gone. Time flies so so swiftly.
It is officially spring and we switch our clocks back to British summer time on the 25th of March. Thanks for that because some of our clocks are still on summer time.
Although there is no telling whether the weather will change according to the season, we at the Kulinarya Cooking Club are celebrating summer (already in full swing in the Philippines). This month, our gracious hosts Jun of Jun Blog and Arnold of Inuyaki have chosen a cool theme. To welcome/beckon the summer heat, we are making our favourite Filipino frozen treats.
As you can imagine, frozen treats are natural favourites in hot countries like the Philippines. It is something that we just have to have when the weather just gets out of hand. Ice creams, popsicles and ice drops are peddled in the streets and ice candies (freeze pops) are sold in households and stores.
I am making one of the popular frozen treat in the Philippines: red bean ice lollies. Ice drop is the local name for popsicles or ice lollies. It is peddled mostly by young boys in styrofoam ice chests fitted with shoulder straps. Ice drops are usually made with native ingredients such as red bean, ube (puple yam) and buco (young coconut). The red beans used are azuki beans which are cooked in syrup. They are usually undercooked so they stay whole and the milk remains white. The beans sink to the bottom of the ice drop and quite nicely gives it a speckled look.
There is more red beans than usual on these lollies. I like my beans soft so that they blend with the milk and also so that they are easier to digest (you know what I mean, right?). I pureed some of the paste and piped swirls on the sides of the disposable cups I've used as molds. The rest of the paste is mixed with milk. When frozen, the piped swirls contrast with the lighter milk mixture.
This recipe makes 10-12 ice lollies. You will need 12 small disposable drinking cups and 12 popsicle sticks.
Ingredients for the red bean paste:
1 c. red beans
4 c. water
1 1/4 c. sugar
Soak the beans for a few hours or overnight. Drain the beans. Mix the beans and with 4 c. of water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are very soft. Stir occasionally to ensure that the beans do not stick to the bottom of the pan. I used a pressure cooker to cook the beans for half an hour. Some of the beans will remain whole but soft and some will be mushy.
When the beans are soft, add the sugar and and reduce the liquid while stirring on medium heat until the mixture is thick. This will take about 20 minutes. Cool the mixture, then refrigerate.
Ingredients for the lollies:
2 1/4 c. milk fresh milk
3/4 c. condensed milk
2 tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. red bean paste (from the recipe above)
pureed red bean paste
Mix all of the ingredients together in a jug and refrigerate while you prepare the molds.
Puree the remaining red bean paste in a food processor. The paste should neither be too thick nor too thin. If too thick, it won't stick to the sides of the cup. If too thin, it will just run down the sides and not form a pattern. To test, smear a bit of the mixture on the side of the cup with a teaspoon. If it stays put and remains the same shape, then it is the right consistency.
Put this in a disposable piping bag or zip lock bag. Snip the end or corner of the bag to make a 1/2 cm. wide opening. Pipe the puree onto the cup, starting with a swirl at the bottom and working your way up and around the sides of the cup. Freeze the cups until the bean paste is frozen (about an hour).
Stir the milk mixture and pour into the prepared cups.
Line two strips of sticky tape, side by side across the top of the cup. This will hold your sticks in place. Gently push a stick in between the strips of tape. Don't push too far down so that the stick doesn't show when the lollies are frozen. Freeze until solid.
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