I love homemade ice pops.
I mean, let’s be honest here, I also love homemade ice cream and all things sweet and frozen, especially in the summer. Hot weather basically ushers in the season of icy frozen sweet treats for me. There’s something about a homemade ice pop though that just really hits the spot on a hot day. They also happen to hit the spot on a cool day, or a rough day, a stressful day, or a great day, a lonely day, or a day spent with friends.
Making ice pops at home tends to be much easier than making ice cream and doesn’t require such an investment in special equipment. They’re also the perfect single-serving-size. Where eating ice cream requires a certain level of self control, you know you’re done with an ice pop when all that’s left is a clean wooden stick. Ice pops generally tend to be a little bit healthier too, featuring milk, yogurt, or fruit juice rather than heavy cream. So if you go back in for a second one, it’s okay, I won’t tell.
Since milk, on it’s own, isn’t as creamy as the custardy base of ice cream, I think that transforming the milk into a pudding before freezing really improves the texture. I recently did this with chocolate ice pops with great results, so when I was trying to think of what to pair with peaches this time around I thought I’d give it a shot. Worked like a charm!
I infused the creamy pudding with a healthy dose of vanilla bean and thickened it slightly with egg yolk to give it a rich French vanilla custard flavor. It makes the whole thing taste just as rich and decadent as homemade ice cream, and it’s a perfect compliment to the deep summery roasted peaches.
Roasting the peaches heightens and concentrates their flavor and gives them a toasty caramelized depth. It also helps to soften them and make them easier to peel and puree, which is especially great if your peaches aren’t exactly 100% ripe. Pouring the different flavors in alternating layers ensures that each slurp of these pops is a totally fun and refreshing experience.
What more can I say about these? They’re creamy, rich, decadent, & custardy. Their amazing vanilla cream flavor is the star of the show, and it pairs perfectly with the sweet roasted peaches. Just right for summer!
roasted peach and creamy vanilla pudding ice pops
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of sugar, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 450. Wash peaches and cut them into quarters, discarding the pit. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar. Arrange, cut side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour any leftover liquid over the peach pieces. Roast for about 20 minutes or until peaches release their syrupy juices and begin to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the skin from each slice, which should peel off easily. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, whisk remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and salt. Add milk and whisk smooth. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and whisk into milk along with scraped bean. Heat slowly over a medium flame, whisking regularly. Once slightly thickened and bubbling, cook for one to two minutes more before removing from heat. Place egg yolks in a small bowl, and ladle in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pudding. Whisk together, and return to pan. Whisk smooth, return to heat, and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for one or two minutes more and whisk in vanilla extract.
Pour a little more than half of the mixture (probably about 1 1/2 cups) off into a measuring cup or heatproof bowl. Add peaches and remaining teaspoon of cornstarch to remaining pudding mixture. Puree in the pan with an immersion blender or in the pitcher of a blender. Return pan to heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for one or two minutes more. Cool slightly before proceeding.
Layer vanilla pudding and peach pudding mixtures in ice pop molds. I use a mold with ten 3 oz pops, and alternated two layers of each flavor. Try to be slightly more stingy with vanilla pudding, and more generous with peach as you’ll have just a bit more of that.
Cover molds, add sticks about half way into pops, and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours, or until completely frozen through. Remove pops by running each mold under warm water for about 10 or 15 seconds.