ginger cayenne rhubarb ice pops

It’s finally beginning to feel like summer around here. Barbecues, sandals, sundresses, sunscreen, sunburn. It’s warm. It’s sunny. I love it. I think this calls for frozen treats.

I might’ve mentioned a few months back that I was having quite a time finding rhubarb around here. So when I finally spotted some, I bought about three pounds – I had a few projects in mind. Long story short, my original plan didn’t really work out. But I still had some rhubarb to play with. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it; I wanted rhubarb ice pops.

When I visited Chelsea Market in May, I was totally overstimulated. There were infused oils and flavored vinegars and lobster rolls and bakeries galore. And there was also the newly opened People’s Pops counter, where they slang their shave ice and ice pops made from local produce. I almost left without checking it out, but I was thirsty and the place across the way had run out of coconut water. So I jumped on the wagon and left Chelsea Market with a ginger-cayenne rhubarb ice pop. It was superb – sweet and tart with a kick from the ginger and a little lip-tingle from the cayenne; very refreshing. It was the best damn pop I’ve had in a long time. I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

Which brings us back to my surplus of rhubarb. I knew I wanted to re-create the ice pop I had in New York, so I started to do a little research. And then I found a recipe for the People’s Pops’ rhubarb ice pops. The recipe didn’t include ginger or cayenne, so I did a little improvising. And the pops were perfect – cool and creamy and a little bit spicy; I was totally pleased with the results. There is something so very satisfying about making your own ice pops. I’m ready for more.

ginger cayenne rhubarb ice pops

adapted from New York Magazine Online

makes 8-10 3-ounce ice pops

1 pound rhubarb

4 ounces water, plus more to cover rhubarb

4 ounces cane sugar

1  one-inch piece of ginger, cut into thick slices

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon  cayenne pepper

2-1/2 ounces heavy cream

Wash and chop the rhubarb into one-inch pieces. Place rhubarb in a wide-bottomed, nonreactive pot, and add approximately 1 inch of water, or enough to cover the rhubarb. Cover the pot, and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb breaks down into a lumpy purée, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the purée from its juice, and reserve both.

In a small pot, combine 4 ounces of water with the cane sugar. Add the sliced ginger. Gently heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from burner, cover, and let ginger steep in the syrup for 10 minutes.  Remove ginger from the syrup and mince.

In a pitcher, combine the rhubarb purée and the ginger syrup. Adjust sweetness—keeping in mind that some sweetness will dissipate upon freezing—by adding some of the reserved rhubarb juice. Save remaining juice for another use. Stir in the minced ginger and cayenne pepper. Stir in the heavy cream until completely incorporated. Pour mixture into ice-pop molds, and freeze overnight.