This is a trust fall. We need to build a bridge of trust right now; I need to trust you to hear what I have to say and understand that what I did, I didn’t do to hurt you. I’ve lied about this recipe. It’s actually not a tres leches…it’s a cuatros leches. You’re not mad are you? Don’t be mad. I never meant any harm.
You already know that I’m not one for cutting corners. When I began making tres leches cakes, I did so by using four milks instead of three. Why should I let society dictate how many leches I put in my desserts? They’re not the boss of me!! I do what I want! For some reason, though, I couldn’t bring myself to confess that I was making cuatro leches. I was certain that my “Latina Card” would be revoked.
So, all these many years, I’ve hidden in shame. I’ve put up a front that I was only adding three leches, when all the time I went ahead and poured in that fourth with abandon. I revealed my secret to my Soldier a few years ago. Like a loving, supportive husband, he rubbed my back and spoke words of comfort to assuage the guilt I felt inside. He even encouraged me to add a fifth, because, “That’ll taste crazy good.” He’s an enabler, y’all.
Tres leches is cake is a very popular dessert in many Latin American countries. Shockingly, or not, I was never a fan of it. It seemed like every version I had, up until I began making it, was a soggy, bland mess. As a result, I shunned it. I knew there had to be a way for me to make this cake palatable. I can’t do soggy cake, you guys; so, off to the lab I went. Once I created the perfect (for me) tres-cuatro leches cake, I played around with creating other desserts with the heavenly creamy deliciousness.
The thought occurred to me: “Why not combine one Hispanic classic with another?” Why not, indeed!
Paletas are the Hispanic version of popsicles. In different Latin American and Caribbean countries, they take on many forms. My family’s treat was a piragua– a creamy version of shaved ice. I, personally, prefer the portability of the paleta; you know, laziness and greed, and all. I prefer not to juggle a cup and spoon, so paletas are my favorite. Most are made with fresh fruits and minimal preservatives. All are unique and quite a pleasure to experiment with.
Thus, we have the favorite dessert transformed into a beloved milky confection. This paleta is a beat-the-heat treat of many Latinos. Now, I hope it becomes yours! Pin this recipe for those dog days of summer and check out my other paleta recipes.
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Tres Leches Paletas
A sweet, creamy twist on the classic cake.
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cup half & half
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt.
Add the evaporated milk.
Add the condensed milk, followed by the half & half and whisk to combine. Allow the mix to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before whisking again (this allows the salt and sugars to dissolve).
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds.
Make sure to wipe up spills from the top of the mold to make removal easier. Cover the mold with the lid and freeze for thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, insert popsicle sticks into the slots in the mold's lid. Allow to freeze for an additional 7 1/2 hours or overnight.
Carefully, unmold* and enjoy!
These paletas are great on their own, but even better when dipped in:
- chocolate sauce (combine 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Microwave until warm, whisk together until smooth and dip frozen paletas in)
- caramel sauce
- crushed nuts
- toasted coconut
*Some molds release the paletas easier than others. My foolproof way to get mine out is to running really hot water over the inverted popsicle mold, turn it right side up and unmold quickly. I run hot water over them again if they fail to release easily.