Ever notice that when it comes to ice-cream trucks, kids boast bionic hearing?

“They’re constantly like, ‘Oh my gosh, Mommy, can I have,’” described chef Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Brew.

She offers a homemade alternative, and you can too. Beat the heat this summer with easy, freezy treats the whole family will love. No churning required!

“They’re enjoyable, delicious, refreshing and good for you,” Sorzano said of her low-sugar, probiotic-rich blueberry kombucha popsicles. “You can really use any kind of berry, any kind of fruit. It’s so versatile.”

Try the recipe or buy them at her kombucha brewery, A Culture Factory in Phoenixville. And for a grown-up spin, skip ice cubes and put pops in your sangria.

“Popsicles - not just for children anymore,” she joked.

Neither is green peppercorn-rose granita.

“People love to experiment,” said chef Blake Swihart of Foodservice Solutions in Chester Springs, who flavors ices, ice creams, granitas and sorbets with sophisticated syrups like lemon verbena, lavender and cucumber-juniper.

“When you start with the simple syrup, it makes a finer crystal,” he noted.

Just add fruit. And for best results, follow his advice: freeze, reprocess and refreeze.

“You’re breaking down the crystals, and you’re also incorporating air into it,” Swihart explained. “I call it the lazy man’s way because I just won’t get my ice-cream maker out.”

Another option: citrus cream, a cooked custard-whipped cream combo that freezes like a dream.

“It actually works out really, really well because by the time you get it to the table, it’s softer,” he said. “It’s really delicious.”

Who needs that ice-cream truck anyway?

Blueberry Kombucha PopsicleIngredients

2 cups fresh blueberries2 cups blueberry kombucha

1 tablespoon honey or organic agave syrup

InstructionsPour all ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the popsicle molds, leaving a little room at the top, and freeze for at least 4 hours. Enjoy!


Simple Syrup with Flavored Variations

To use simple syrups in granitas, ices and ice cream, be sure to reduce the simple syrup by at least 1/3 before putting in the flavorings and reducing again. Cool and strain.

Mix 1 cup of flavored simple syrup with 2 cups of fruit puree, plus 1 cup of finely chopped pieces of fruit for a granita or ice. Freeze, reprocess and refreeze.

Base recipeIngredients1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup waterFlavoringInstructions

In a saucepan, simmer the water, sugar and flavoring until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain, if necessary. Use or store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a month. Makes approximately 1 cup of syrup.

Lemon Verbena Syrup1 cup lemon verbena leaves

1 tablespoon lemon zest Cucumber-Juniper Syrup

¼ cup cucumber peels6 juniper berries

Rosemary-Peppercorn Syrup¼ cup rosemary sprigs

1 tablespoon black or white peppercorns

Lavender Syrup¼ cup lavender flowers

2 tablespoons orange zest Citrus Syrup

2 tablespoons orange zest2 tablespoons lemon/lime zest

1 teaspoon orange flower water

Garlic-Thyme Syrup¼ cup thyme sprigs

1 tablespoon roasted garlic cloves

Raspberry-Bay Syrup½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

2 bay leaves3 black peppercorns

Green Peppercorn-Rose Syrup¼ cup crushed green peppercorns


Citrus CreamIngredients1½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup cornstarch¼ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups water1 cup orange juice

½ cup lime juice4 egg yolks4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons lemon zest2 cups heavy cream

2 quarts mixed berries8 to 10 mint sprigs

InstructionsIn a 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and flour; whisk to blend. Add water, orange and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a gentle boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Simmer mixture for 1 to 2 minutes (it will be very thick).

Beat egg yolk together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in ½ cup of the hot sauce into egg yolks (tempering), whisk the yolk mixture into the sauce pan and bring the mixture over a low heat to a second simmer, gently whisking constantly. Off the heat, blend in butter and zest and transfer mixture to a bowl. Cover mixture with a buttered piece of wax paper and cool.

Whip cream until firm and gently fold it into the cooled citrus base mixture until totally incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Spoon berries into eight to 10 bowls top each with lemon cream and a mint sprig and serve with shortbread.

NOTE: Mixture may be frozen with whipped cream folded into the base and slightly thawed to serve.


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