Agua de piña is a very popular agua fresca served all over Mexico, and made from just a few ingredients.
Nieves and raspados are more or less the same: flavored shaved ice. And chamoyadas are in the same family, but made a little differently; usually they’re a slushy consistency and you drink them with a straw. I’ve included the directions for both below.
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Summer and parillada season is upon us, and I love to serve a dessert that feels special like fireworks at the end of the evening — but without too much fuss.
I was browsing recipes at El Mejor Nido for summer dessert inspiration and came across an easy homemade strawberry ice cream that looked divine. I love the idea of making homemade ice cream with fresh seasonal fruit, but I don’t have an ice cream maker.
So instead, I created this no-churn version of a Mexican vanilla ice cream with a grilled pineapple topping. Sweetened condensed milk folded into freshly whipped cream is the key to this dish, and there’s a surprise ingredient — a very small amount of tequila — that helps keep the ice cream easy to scoop. The only real skill you’ll need is patience while it freezes!
RELATED RECIPE: Frozen café con leche…
Paletas made with pineapple, cucumber and lime juice are a refreshing, healthy treat you can enjoy without any guilt! This all-natural, no sugar added popsicle recipe is one of my favorite ways to cool off from the summer heat, without consuming lots of empty calories or sugar. The lime zest gives these paletas a bright zip of color and a citrusy aroma that lime juice alone just can’t provide. I also love how the lime zest sinks to the bottom of the popsicle mold as it freezes, embedded in the pineapple juice and some of the cucumber juice naturally floats to the top of the mold. It makes for a pretty layered look with zero effort for it to turn out that way!
After going 10 days without eating sugar last month, I began thinking a lot about how much added sugar we actually consume in our household. Although we won’t completely cut all added sugar out of our diet, there are definitely some places we can easily cut back to make healthier choices. And although it’s true that pineapple has a moderately high amount of natural sugar, the juice, when cut by cucumber and lime juice and divided into 10 popsicles, still has way less sugar per serving than almost any store-bought popsicle, and absolutely no preservatives, chemicals, sugar substitutes or artificial color dyes.
RELATED RECIPE: Mango cantaloupe paletas with chile powder
If your family consumes a lot of popsicles in the summer like mine does, then you probably already know that making your own ice pops can be both cost effective and healthier. Especially if you’ve got little kids you don’t want eating lots of sugar, this recipe is a great, tasty option. Be sure to cut the skin off the cucumber so that the flavor is mild and blends in well to mellow the sweetness of the pineapple. Leaving the skin on the cucumber often results in a bitter flavor that throws off the balance.
I recently made several versions for a game night gathering, and this one was the quickest to disappear.
RELATED: Mango and pomegranate guacamole
If you’d rather not mix sweet and savory, you can leave out the jalapeño and garlic if you prefer. But after trying this recipe, nobody was eating the classic guacamole recipe I brought! I love to buy a whole bag full of avocados and make several different versions for parties because it’s so easy to do. Just keep the base the same with avocado, garlic, lime juice and salt, split up the base between several bowls, and add other ingredients as you like. It looks fancy but takes very little time to do.
I use red onion when I make guacamole with fruit because they’re less pungent, have a milder onion flavor, and still give you an added texture and crunch. You can substitute white onion if you prefer, but it will have a different taste. Red onion complements the sweetness of the fruit better, while white onion can overpower the delicate taste of the pomegranate and sweet acidity of the pineapple.
This nontraditional recipe is perfect for any party or get-together with family or friends, especially if they’ve never had anything but classic guacamole before. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!
One last note: Always use fresh-squeezed lime juice over the bottled kind. The flavor becomes dull and sometimes bitter due to time since bottling means it’s pasteurized and has preservatives in it. The brightness from fresh lime juice can’t be matched by the bottled stuff.
As I’ve been checking out as many Mexican grocers in Los Angeles as possible, I’ve noticed one product (made by a few different brands) that was not common to find in the Mexican supermarkets in Chicago: bottled tepache. I haven’t tried any yet, but I think I will soon just because I’m seeing it everywhere and I’m getting more and more curious how it tastes compared to the homemade tepache I’ve had in Mexico and Chicago from taquerías and street stands.
The fermented pineapple drink has a hard cider quality and is originally from the state of Jalisco.
For a home-brewed recipe, check out this step-by-step tepache recipe and tutorial from my friend Pati Jinich from Pati’s Mexican Table.
I used to frequently find tepache at an aguas frecas stand at the Maxwell Street Market (every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; free admission and most vendors only accept cash). For more places to find tepache in Chicago, check out this August 2012 article from the Chicago Tribune.