Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles
It seems like the rest of the country is rejoicing in 65 degree weather, chunky sweaters, and pumpkin flavored everything. While here in typically-foggy San Francisco, our weird Indian Summer is just starting. It was 106 degrees over the weekend. 106 freaking degrees!!!!! Gah. It makes me hot just thinking about. It was the hottest it had ever been in the city EVER. Friday and Saturday were absolutely miserable. Your only options were:
A. Sit around your apartment in your underwear with the fan blowing on you while covered in ice packs.
B. Go to the mall or the movies.
We opted for A and B. We made it to about 1pm on Saturday until we started to get delirious. So we reluctantly put some clothes on, rented a Zipcar with AC, and drove out of the city to do basic suburban things, like go to Target, walk around the mall, and stand in the freezer section of Whole Foods. It was wonderful and made my inner soccer mom very happy! It has thankfully cooled down quite a bit since then. It looks like it's going to be in the 70s for the next week or so. Which in theory sounds great... I just need to get some more summer duds into my cardigan and sweater heavy wardrobe. Hi arms! Nice to see you guys again!
The moment the temperature started to creep into the high 70s I was thinking of popsicles. There was no way I would have survived this hot-as-balls weekend without these Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles. They were air conditioning on a stick basically. I grew up drinking Hong Kong Milk Tea, either the store bought canned/juice box versions or the real deal panty hose strained versions in Hong Kong. It is a simple combo of strong black tea (preferably ceylon tea) with condensed milk or evaporated milk. It's seriously the easiest thing to make. Also, guess people also call it "pantyhose milk tea" because they strain the tea leaves through pantyhose to get it's characteristically super smooth texture. I don't own or wear pantyhose so I'm just going to stick to the more conventional tea bag method.
One of my absolute favorite things to do in Hong Kong is getting lunch at a loud Chinese diner. I order a simple fried egg sandwich on fluffy milk bread and an iced milk tea, maybe some noodles too. It's so simple and so good. Then I would probably run around for a little until I'm hungry again and find some dumplings or and egg waffle. The flavors of these popsicles made me want to go back to Hong Kong so bad! Reuben and I are trying to plan our next international trip for next year and I'm pushing for Japan and/or Hong Kong real hard. Reuben wants to go to Italy... not a terrible option. But flights to HK are so affordable and easy from San Francisco! I'm just going to continue making Reuben my favorite Hong Kong favorites and brainwash him into wanting to go to Asia. Heh heh heh. Think about all the noodles and dim sum, Reuby!
Anyways, if you're still burning up on the West Coast you better make a batch of these, stat! Even if the temperature is cooling down where you are, summer is not technically over. It's still totally socially acceptable to make popsicles! Enjoy the rest of the week, peeps!
Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles
makes 10 popsicles
2 ceylon tea bags
2 cups hot water - almost boiling
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Pour hot water over tea bags in a heat proof vessel and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes. I like my tea a little dark so I let it steep on the longer side.
2. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk until evenly incorporated into the tea. You can add more or less depending on personal taste preference.
3. Pour milk tea into popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2" at the top of the mold. Place in the freezer and allow them to set up for 1 hour.
4. Whisk together half and half with vanilla. Pour half and half into the remaining portion of the popsicle molds. Use a popsicle stick to gentle mix up the half and half with paritially frozen milk tea. Place popsicle sticks into the mold and place popsicles back into the freezer for at least another 4 hours to set up.