Paletas de fresa con crema are Mexican strawberry popsicles that have a wonderful balance of creaminess, bright fruitiness and cool refreshment. They're really easy to make with only three ingredients, and perfect for a warm day.
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Mexico is one of those places where you can have many wonderful food experiences, and for me, one that really stands out from my first visit involved ice cream. While I've always enjoyed frozen treats, this was a whole new level of tastiness.
There was a small town that we took groups to from the center I was based in, mainly to visit the market, pottery stores and old monastery. But for those in the know, there was also a local ice cream chain that was well worth making time for. The selection was vast, and everything I tried on my few visits was delicious.
Cooling treats are a big thing in Mexico, which is not too surprising given the heat in much of the country. But what I really love is both the unusual flavors and natural ingredients. This is true both of the ice creams in stores like the one I visited, and popsicles both in stores and, even more commonly, sold by street vendors.
How are Mexican paletas different from typical popsicles?
Although it's a slight over-generalization, popsicles/ice pops that you find in the US, and many commercial brands sold elsewhere, tend to be primarily water, sweetener and flavorings. The flavorings all too often are artificial and many have various colorings added, too.
Paletas, meanwhile, are traditionally only natural ingredients. Many use fruit as the base, either blended fruit like mango paletas, or using the juice, like lime. Then you'll find other flavors like coffee, coconut or horchata.
While paletas are still generally sweetened - you kind of have to sweeten most frozen treats to get the flavor to come through properly after freezing - it tends to be less. And for fruit-based versions, much of that sweetness comes from the fruit as well.
Paletas fall into two main groups: water-based and milk-based. It's similar to the sorbet versus ice cream difference, just in on-a-stick form. But unlike ice creams, creamy paletas are really easy to make. There's no churning, and you don't have to make a custard base.
True, you can lower the chance of getting ice crystals with a little corn syrup, corn starch or other thickeners such as gelatin, but I have to say I don't really think these need that. Yes, you might get some slightly icier bits depending on your freezer/moulds, but the flavor and creaminess means you soon forget it and just enjoy.
Choosing and preparing the strawberries
While on the whole these are super simple, the key is, maybe not surprisingly, the strawberries. You are going to taste them, so you want to pick ones that are ripe, fresh, and ideally ones you know will have a good flavor (so more local ones in season are generally better than ones flown from far away).
If they are a little over-ripe, just cut off any bit that has gone bad if the rest looks fine. The good bit almost certainly has a better flavor than an under-ripe one.
Top tip: let the strawberries sit in sugar
To help draw out the flavor even more, you macerate them before blending with the cream. That simply means tossing them in sugar and leaving them so the sugar draws out the liquid, making a strawberry syrup. The process also softens the strawberries.
After that, you simply blend up the strawberries, and the syrup that formed, with the cream and pour into your popsicle moulds. Just make sure you have them relatively full, so it will hold the sticks, but with a slight gap to allow for expansion. Then try to be patient as they freeze before you enjoy.
Strawberry paletas (paletas de fresa con crema) are such simple and delicious Mexican strawberry popsicles that are packed with tasty flavor, and so easy to make. Simple ingredients that give deliciously fruity, creamy and refreshingly cool results. Perfect to cool you down on a warm day.
Try these other sweet strawberry recipes:
- Easy strawberry mousse (so simple and delicious)
- Strawberry tiramisu (a fruity twist on the classic)
- Strawberry rhubarb crisp (combining sweet and tart, and wonderfully comforting)
- Plus get more Mexican recipes and snack recipes in the archives.
Paletas de fresa con crema - Mexican strawberry popsicles
- 13 oz strawberries (13oz is approx 2 ¼ cups chopped strawberries)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¾ cup heavy cream double cream (or can use part milk or Mexican crema)
- Wash the strawberries well and remove the stems. Roughly chop the strawberries and place in a bowl. Sprinkle ver the sugar then stir to coat the fruit. Leave to sit at room temperature to macerate for around 30 minutes.
- Once the strawberries have sat with the sugar you should see a syrup has formed in the bowl. Place the strawberries and all of the syrup into a blender. Add the cream then blend well.
- Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds, using a funnel or transferring first to a jug to make it easier to fill them. If using a funnel, you may need to help it along now and then with a skewer if you get a little chunk of fruit stuck in the narrow funnel. Fill the moulds to near the top but with a little gap to allow for expansion as it freezes.
- Place the base or sticks into the moulds and transfer to the freezer to freeze. They need at least 4 hours to freeze properly, or ideally overnight.
- When ready to eat, you may need to let them sit at room temperature a couple minutes or run the mould under warm water for a couple minutes to help them detach from the mould.
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