Dark Cherry Agua Fresca

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One summer, after college, I worked at Whole Foods. It was a very short stint as part of the opening crew of a new store and one that I just, ultimately, wasn’t cut out for. I worked in the kitchen where it was hot from the cooking, humid from the dishwasher, and socially awkward from the insular group of cooks that had moved over from another store together. My report with the chef was good since it turned out I could crimp a billion pot pies neatly and quickly. It was the rest of the staff I couldn’t get in with.  It could have been my awkwardness and insecurity or their cliquey dude group, but it was probably both. Sometimes when I’d go into the walk-in to retrieve ingredients, I’d just bask in the refrigerated air for a minute while giving myself a pep-talk to get through the day. Then I’d wait till the last few hours to take my break so the light at the end of the tunnel didn’t seem so far off. I’d usually sit in my car with the AC blasting, chugging a watermelon agua fresca, while counting down the minutes until I could go home. So, basically I crimped pot pies, made salads, blended up agua fresca, and tried not to cry for a month before I peaced the f out and never looked back. The lesson? Life is too short for awkward work environments and the restorative power of agua fresca should not be underestimated.

Fast forward, like 8ish years, and I bought one of those agua frescas of my memories, reminiscing its thirst quenching abilities while I poured it over ice, only to be so disappointed by how cloyingly sweet it was. Sad trombone. But, there’s an upside to what has turned out to be an oddly depressing recounting of jobs-past. Agua fresca is damn easy to make. Like, why haven’t I been doing it for the better part of the last decade? It’s just fruit, water, and sugar. That’s it. Billy just posted this cute throwback number and he describes it like healthier kool-aid and I totally second that description. I opted to go for dark cherries here because I am obsessed with them every summer and always buy a ton and get super mad if I let them get wrinkly and sad before I use them.  Also, I have heart-eyeballs for that color. You should probably make this for the 4th of July festivities this weekend, or whatever other weekend happenings you may be enjoying–Netflix binging in your underpants, or whatever. I’m not here to judge. You could probably add some tequila/vodka/gin to this and make it a real party…you know, choose your own adventure.

Print Recipe

Dark Cherry Agua Fresca

Makes about 1 liter.

There are a ton of agua fresca variations, but they all pretty much have about 4 cups of fruit (berries, stone fruits, melon) with about an equal amount of water and some sugar. You can pretty much make this with any fruit, just adjust the sugar to taste.

4 cups dark, sweet cherries, pitted

juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup sugar

3-4 cups cool water

Blend the cherries, lime juice, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a blender until the cherries are completely pureed. Stir in the remaining water (2-3 cups depending on how you would like the consistency, I like mine to be fairly thin and watery but still very cherry flavored). Serve in tall glasses over ice. Cheers!

 

Recently at Betty’s: Hummingbird Pancakes and 3-Ingredient Ice Cream Cake

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I’m going to be “that person” and say that I cannot even believe that it’s the week before the 4th of July. I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again because I’m just still caught in disbelief, but where the hell does the time go? Anyway, I made these Hummingbird Pancakes months ago for my gal Betty and they’re dreamy decadence is still trapped in my mind. Maybe I should make them again, ASAP? Probs. They’re inspired by the deliciously amazing Southern classic, Hummingbird Cake, but in a breakfast disguise complete with cream cheese drizzle.

Then, there’s this super-easy 3-Ingredient 4th of July Ice Cream “Cake” situation. Three layers of ice cream and sorbet all dressed up in patriotic stripes, with very little fuss while also being totally festive and perfectly frosty.

Pop on over to BettyCrocker.com for these recipes and more.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for these recipes and photos featured on BettyCrocker.com

Roasted Apricot and Vanilla Créme Fraîche Pops

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It’s officially summer, aka popsicle season! Basically the most wonderful time of the year (besides all those other times I might declare #themostwonderfultimeoftheyear)!

For my first frozen pops of the season, I’ve mixed roasted apricots and vanilla-flecked créme fraîche. This match was born in my minds tastebud (gross. sorry.) and it worked out so well! The roasted apricots are just sweet with a bit of tartness that makes such a lovely pairing with the lush, vanilla bean créme fraîche. The flavors of these are maybe one of my favorites yet (big words, considering all these popsicles), but their texture is equally fantastic–the apricot layers have an almost sorbet-like consistency, with just a little give under the tooth, and the créme fraîche is so creamy without any iciness. Swoon.

Roasted Apricot & Vanilla Crème Fraîche Pops

Makes about 10 popsicles (I use THIS popsicle mold).

This recipe starts with a simple vanilla sugar—you will likely have extra, but since apricots can be very tart, even after roasting, extra sugar is nice to have on hand.

For the vanilla sugar:

1 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

For the apricots:

3 lbs (more or less) ripe apricots

1/2 cup sugar, divided (you may need up to 2/3 cup)

1 cup water

For the crème fraîche:

1/2 cup crème fraîche

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the sugar with the insides of the vanilla bean and rub the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar until well distributed and the sugar smells of vanilla. Set aside.

Halve and pit the apricots and place the halves onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Toss with 1/4 cup of the vanilla sugar and roast in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the apricots are soft, release some syrup, and begin to caramelize around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, using either a blender, food processor, or immersion blender (and deep bowl), blend the roasted apricots with 1 cup of water and an additional 1/4-1/3 (to taste) cup of the vanilla sugar until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, milk, and 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar until combined.

Fill popsicle molds about 1/3 full with the apricot mixture, then divide the crème fraîche mixture between the molds, and top with the remaining apricot mixture. Use a skewer or chopstick to swirl the flavors together a bit, or leave them in layers, and freeze for about 1 hour or until the pops begin to firm up. Once they begin to firm, place in the sticks and continue to freeze solid, preferably overnight.