Rice? In a popsicle? Oh yeah baby! You better believe it — it may sound strange, but this is one of the best frozen desserts I've put in my mouth in a long time. Coconut milk, chewy rice, and fragrant mango — these popsicles are just completely yummy, if I do say so myself!
These deluxe pudding pops were inspired by Saveur's recent article on paletas, Mexican popsicles. Paletas are invariably stuffed full of fresh fruit flavor and yummy mix-ins, and these pudding pops were directly inspired by them.
I am a big fan of pudding pops in general, but I was even more intrigued by Saveur's recipe for Paletas de Arroz con Leche, rice pudding pops. Rice pudding? I loved the idea of some nubs and texture in my popsicle. Creamy, vanilla-flecked sweetness, bits of tender rice, and — why not? — some juicy mango?
So I gave it a try, substituting coconut milk for some of the milk, and adding in the flesh of two ripe mangos.
The result? Oh-so-good. Chewy, coconut-flavored pudding pops, creamy yet refreshing. And the mango, with its bursts of tangy fruit, flavored the whole popsicle more than I expected. These are definitely worth a try. They make a lot (12 rather large popsicles) but you can split the recipe in half if you like, or just schedule a popsicle party!
Coconut and Mango Rice Pudding Pops
One 15-ounce can coconut milk, shaken
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 cup short-grain or arborio rice
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe mangos
Whisk the coconut milk and whole milk together in a 4-quart (or larger) saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and stir in. Stir in the rice, and bring the whole mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, water, vanilla extract, and salt. Peel the mango and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Fold the mango into the rice mixture.
Transfer the rice and mango mixture to twelve 3-ounce ice-pop molds. Insert sticks and freeze until solid — 3 to 4 hours.
To release the pops from the molds, run the molds briefly under warm water.
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(Images: Faith Durand)