Think of the Portland Picnic Society as a local chapter of “ladies who lunch”—just replace the socialites with 20 of the city’s top chefs, bakers, and wine aficionados, mounting their own elaborate picnics in city parks each summer. The Society’s brightest alfresco idea, highlighted in the pages of its recent cookbook, The Picnic, involves the Mexican paleta: icy, juicy, fruit purée on a stick. While traditional paleterías stock south-of-the-border flavors like chile-mango, tamarind, and rice pudding, PPS founders and food writers Jen Stevenson, Marnie Hanel, and food stylist Andrea Slonecker blend their favorite Northwest fruits for a tart lineup that’s sure to keep the heat at bay. (For more paleta inspiration, check out this roundup of the city's best ready-made frozen offerings.)
(Each recipe makes 8 paletas.)
Freeze for 30 minutes before adding the sticks to help secure their position, and freeze for a total of 3–4 hours before enjoying. To remove paletas from their molds, fill a container with warm water and submerge the molds for a few seconds to loosen the edges. Tip: To keep paletas from melting outdoors, the Portland Picnic Society uses dry ice, available at some large groceries like Fred Meyer.
Purée 4 cups chopped plums and 2 tbsp sugar in a blender. Pour the mixture into molds. Freeze.
Purée 4 cups chopped strawberries, 3 tbsp honey, and 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary. Pour the mixture into molds and distribute among them 2 strawberries, thinly sliced. Freeze.
Purée 4 cups chopped pineapple and ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves. Pour mixture into molds, and distribute 16 small mint leaves among them. Freeze.
Purée two cups Muscadet grapes* and 1 tbsp sugar. Distribute 1 bunch Concord grapes*, halved, evenly among the molds, and top with the Muscadet purée. Freeze.
*Both grape varieties are available at most New Seasons Markets.