My first experience of a pina colada was in Thailand when I was 18. It was very fancy for me back then – it came in a coconut and everything. I remember claiming at the time, “This is the best thing I have ever drunk!”
Jump forward 10 years and a few icy pole recipes later and I decided that I was going to attempt to morph that flavour of the tropics into a gourmet summer treat. Here’s the recipe for that icy slice of heaven with the works.
Pina Colada (The Original)
Makes 10–12 popsicles
2½–3 cups chopped pineapple (I use fresh pineapple, however canned will work just as well)
½ cup coconut cream
½ cup coconut milk
3 tbsp shredded dried coconut (lightly toasted)
1–2 tbsp agave, depending on how sweet you like your popsicles. (You could also use honey or ¼ cup sugar. If you use canned pineapple, you will need fewer sweeteners. Adjust according to taste.)
1–2 tbsp dark rum (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of sea salt
½ tsp coconut essence
If you’re not vegan (and don’t mind a few extra calories), add ½ cup of condensed milk. No more than this or they won’t freeze! You may notice the mixture becomes quite thick. If so, water it down with the pineapple juice from the can, or a ½ cup of water.
1. Chop the pineapple and place in a blender (a stick blender will work just as well). I find that the smaller you chop, the easier it is to blend without getting stuck and having to stop and start all the time. Include the whole mix of pineapple and pulp as it adds to the thick creamy texture of the icy pole.
2. Combine all the other ingredients (minus the shredded coconut) and blend until smooth. It is tempting to put in more alcohol (I’ve tried), but be warned. The mix will not freeze properly if there is too much in it.
3. Toast the shredded coconut until lightly golden in a dry pan over the stove. This will help to release the natural oils in the coconut and add so much more flavour. Be careful as the coconut can burn very quickly. The shredded coconut will also add texture to the icy pole and make it feel more like a dessert. I’ve had people tell me they just wanted a snack, but one of these icy poles is enough to make them full.
4. Stir the coconut into the pineapple mix. I usually let the mixture sit for 15 minutes to let the flavours develop. Have a quick taste and make any adjustments as needed.
5. Pour the mix into icy pole moulds. You can get really cheap ones from most $2 style stores. Alternatively, you could use plastic cups or glasses. Freeze for at least 5 hours or until frozen hard. These are great to make the day before needed. To remove the icy poles from the moulds, you may need to run it briefly under hot water.