Sudheer Grover is a busy man this week. With the toughest among the restrictions of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown being lifted, his eight-year-old paleta brand Frugurpop is back in the game.
“We are stocking up at our Nature’s Basket outlets,” he manages to say over a hurried phone call from Mumbai.
What is a paleta, you ask? It is a Mexican, fresh-fruit-only version of a popsicle: something that Furgurpop has been whetting appetites for both in Mumbai and Gurugram. Most of their flavours are customised, so who better to advise on the joys of simple, creative ice creams?
Strawberry and basil lemonade popsicle
- 500 gm strawberries
- Freshly squeezed juice of 5 lemons
- 3 tbsp honey
- Finely chopped basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- Blend the strawberry and lemon juice in a blender. Remove from blender and stir in the honey, chopped basil leaves, olive oil and salt. Pour into popsicle moulds or in small steel/plastic glasses and freeze for eight hours.
- Recipe by Sudheer Grover
But before we dive in, let us cover our basics: based on the ingredients you have access to and the mood swings of family, you could choose to make one of the following. A full-fledged ice cream based heavily on cream, complete with stabilisers (like egg yolk) to reduce air bubbles and crystallisation.
Silkier, denser gelatos that, as a rule, have far more whole milk than cream and are usually eggless. Light and dairy-free sorbets that are essentially just fruit puree and sugar, blended and frozen just right. Or, popsicles that can be made out of anything.
Dream it up
When we say anything, we mean literally anything. “You can do something with sweet fruit, or you can experiment. We have also done things like frozen soup on a stick,” he says. There are, however, some broad rules he prefers you keep in mind.
“When you are picking your fruit, make sure they are on the riper side. They should be overripe, basically, so they are sweet enough that you do not need to add any more to it. The sweetness should come from the fruit itself.”
His second tip is, “Once you make your mix, it should be frozen immediately. Home freezers usually take about eight to nine hours to freeze it properly. So if you don’t put it in quickly, it can lose its nutritious value, or sometimes even its flavour. In commercial terms, we say the quicker the freezing process, the higher the shelf life and the tastier the product.”
There is only so much you and I can do, in the absence of industrial-grade equipment. But beyond these tips, Sudheer encourages you to mix and match, and play with flavours. Not that we need encouraging, if the popularity of their flavours like sugarcane mint chia, sugarcane cotton candy, and floral surprise, including rose and jasmine are anything to go by.
Another experimental addition to Indian palates, is avocado. Just ask Sharath Reddy Gattu, founder and CEO of Hyderabad-based Kiaro farms, who introduced avocado gelato this season.
While he is aware of the popularity of avocado gelato in Europe and America, he wasn’t sure how many days it would take him to sell it here. “It was sold in two days. Besides being pleased, I also realised there is a growing number of people who look for healthy alternatives. Avocados are perfect for gelatos for its creamy texture. Its natural fats provide the body that gelatos need. I am also doing a passion fruit and apple sorbet.”
With so many fruits and flavours to pick from, what will you make first?