Push Pops Rise to the Top

There's only so much screaming we can do for ice cream before our voices get hoarse. Rather than binge on run-of-the-mill ice cream dishes this summer, think outside the cone and enjoy some gourmet push pops. Yes, push pops, the beloved freezer aisle confection many of us enjoyed as kids (and as adults, if we're feeling particularly reminiscent and/or depressed). It's a fun, interactive approach to ice cream, and two pastry chefs are offering their own variations on polar ends of the culinary spectrum. This summer, you can get your push pop fix at adorable bakery Bake, or go upscale at the Terrace at Trump.

A love for push pops and their convenient portion sizes for small batches of ice cream are what inspired Jennifer Estrella to start making her own push pops at Bake. Since she does not have a huge ice cream machine, she is limited in the amount of ice cream she can make, forcing her to come up with small-batch options. After the popular reception of her housemade popsicles, she began toying with ways to make something with ice cream without having to make large batches. "Push pops are the perfect vehicle for small batches of ice cream," she says. Plus, push pops are near and dear to her heart. As a kid, they were always her first choice from the Good Humor Truck, and they were perfect for an ice cream-lover such as herself, unconcerned with the cone. "I feel like it's wasting my time when all I really want is the ice cream." Burn. And push pops eliminate the need for a cone, keeping the focus squarely on the ice cream. Her love for push pops is still going strong. "We always get the Good Humor kind at our house and one day I thought it would be cool to do some fancier flavors," she explains. Her husband, Eric Estrella, is the pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, and he had made some in the past, so he knew where to get the right molds. She uses disposable, biodegradable molds for the pops, making everything in-house for the innards. Flavors are quite a bit craftier than those of the Good Humor Truck, including cookies and cream, red velvet cake ice cream, and raspberry swirl. Throughout the summer, look for more fruit-forward options utilizing market-fresh ingredients.

Push pop at bake
(Push pop at Bake)

I bet you'd never expect to see push pops on the menu at a fine dining restaurant. Thanks to whimsical pastry wunderkind Patrick Fahy, you can get your push pop fix this summer at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. Like Estrella, Fahy too recalls fond memories of push pops, reminiscing about chasing ice cream trucks by the lake in Rogers Park as a kid. Inspired by the fun nature of push pops, Fahy jumped on the push pop bandwagon, because as he says, "summer and fun go hand-in-hand." He also likes that they are less messy than ice cream cones or bars, as their containers prevent them from dripping all over your hands. And dripping is very un-Trump. True to Fahy form, his push pops are quite gourmet, with superfruit flavors acai and cupuacu. He makes them by spinning sorbet, piping it into push pop vessels, and storing them in the freezer. Beforehand, he brushes a bit of colored cocoa butter on the sides to add an extra oomph of color. Push pops are available on the Terrace at Trump.

Push pops at Trump Tower and Hotel Chicago
(Aren't these the snazziest push pops you've ever seen?! Get them at Terrace at Trump Hotel and Tower Chicago)