Recipe Sleuth: Pleasant Pops’ Honey-Lavender and Strawberry-Rhubarb Popsicles

One way to beat the heat: popsicles. Here are a couple recipes for the frozen treat that are a far cry from the versions you remember from childhood.

Strawberry-rhubarb (top) and honey-lavender-cream (bottom) pops. Photograph by Erik Uecke

With the scorching temperatures already plaguing Washington, popsicles are an ideal frozen treat: make-ahead, portioned desserts that won’t weigh you down in the heat. We asked Brian Sykora and Roger Horowitz, co-owners of the food truck Pleasant Pops, for two of their seasonal favorites, and they came back with a creamy honey-lavender version and a refreshing strawberry-rhubarb pop, inspired by Sykora’s favorite fruit pie from his grandmother.

If you don’t have a popsicle mold, check Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, or, or substitute small paper cups. Because molds typically come with lids, be sure to tent the cups with plastic wrap after inserting popsicle sticks if you’re going to use cups. To remove the popsicles, Sykora says to dip the container in lukewarm water for a few seconds until it slides out. Leftovers are okay in the freezer for up to two weeks for the honey-lavender, and up to a month for the fruit-based pops.

Once you get the hang of it, Sykora encourages experimenting with local fruits and ingredients like he and Horowitz do at Pleasant Pops.

The key is good flavor. “They might not look pretty the first time around,” says Sykora, “but as long as you have the ingredients right and they taste good, that’s what counts.”

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See Also:

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Honey-Lavender-Cream Pops
Makes 8 to 10 popsicles in 2½-to-3-ounce molds

3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender flowers, available from the Welsh Garden at farmers markets or at Whole Foods
¼ cup organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
¼ cup mild honey, such as clover honey, available at farmers markets and lots of grocery stores

In a medium saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat as soon as it boils. Let the mixture steep, covered with the lid, for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the flowers.

Pour the mixture into the molds or small paper cups (covered with plastic wrap) and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze overnight.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pops

Makes 8 to 10 popsicles in 2½-to-3-ounce molds

2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh strawberries, top leaves cut off
1 cup organic cane sugar or granulated sugar

Place rhubarb into a 1-quart saucepan. Add a ½ cup of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the rhubarb breaks down and loses its shape, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Meanwhile, blend the strawberries in a blender on medium speed for about 20 seconds, then strain the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds. Return the purée to the blender, and add the rhubarb and sugar. Blend until completely incorporated.

Pour the mixture into molds or small paper cups (covered with plastic wrap) and insert sticks. Freeze overnight.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.