Mango Lime Mint Popsicles

There's no such thing that reminds you of your childhood more than popsicles. And popsicle memories I have in abundance. Those used to be Summer holiday afternoons. Hot, sweaty, sultry ones. There wasn't any concept of air conditioning and the only thing that would keep us sane were regular showers. Post lunch, it would be too hot for a siesta and unbearable to stay up. Didi and I would religiously count minutes for the arrival of the ice cream wala. There were no dessert bars or supermarkets then, not even any ice cream store (barring Scoop and Hobby Centre) so the only Messiah to bring some relief in our sweltering lives would be the local ice cream wala, who would turn the corner of our lane sharp at 3.30, gently and wearily pushing his cart and shouting for all of us to hear (and jump up like a spring in consequence) "Kwality...Kwality...". That was the sound that made our day, the sound of hope for every child growing up in '90s Kolkata. Didi and I would leave whatever we were doing, take money from our parents or piggy banks (but mostly it was Thamma who was looted) and rush downstairs. A chocolate cup in those days was 8 bucks and a cone 10 bucks, something that was impossible for us to shell out everyday. So we settled for the humble ice cream sticks — sticks that would come in orange and strawberry flavours. My favourite was (and still is) the orange one that cost 2 bucks and didi would always go for the strawberry one that cost a rupee more. In all of 5 bucks we would have our much-awaited afternoon feast — the grandest of them all!
20 odd years later however much I may swear on Haagen Dazs, Mama Mia, Ben and Jerry's, Movenpick or even Mother Dairy (I positively hate Kwality Walls by the way), my go to summer cooler will always be my favourite orange stick. I got these adorable popsicle moulds the other day and since oranges were nowhere in sight I decided to give an icy twist to the king of Summer fruits — Mango. The addition of a little lime juice and some fresh mint elevated the taste by notches ('cause I will always have a bias towards citrus over pulpy) and not a single person in my family could stop at one. As my Mum, Dad and Jekubaba dug into the frozen delights I could feel them get transported to 5-6 decades back — to their own childhood!

Makes 6 popsicles
Ingredients:

Mango, cubed: 3
Lime juice:of 2 limes
Mint leaves: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Water: 1 cup

Method:

1. Before you start making the fruit puree for the popsicles, you have to make the simple syrup. In a sauce combine water, sugar and the mint leaves and stir over low heat till the sugar dissloves completely. (Ideally in a simple syrup the ratio of sugar:water should be 1:1 but I prefer using a little less sugar). Let it cool. You can drain the mint leaves if you so wish, I didn't. I like pops of flashy green in my bright yellow popsicle!

2. Once the syrup in cooled, tumble everything in a blender and blitz away to glory. However, add the sugar syrup cautiously as the amount you'd need would vary with the sweetness of mangoes. Mine were pretty sweet so I need a little over 1/4 cup of syrup.

3. Pour into popsicle molds, seal them with the sticks and place the molds in your freezer. For the next 4-5 hours CONTROL your temptation to take out the sticks and see whether your pops have frozen. I did that with one after 3 hours and the result was that the stick lost its grip and even after the pops were fully set, it refused to cling to the stick! The pops set best if you leave them overnight.

4. If they are difficult to unmould, run under tap water. What could be a better Summery delight?
It's Raining Mangoes: Day 2
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