The Washington Post

Rocket Pops

Rocket Pops 10.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jun 27, 2022

If these treats feel familiar, it’s because they’ve been popular on neighborhood ice cream trucks for years. They’re traditionally made with layers of cherry, lemon or lime and blue raspberry ice.

Save yourself a little bit of a party-day hassle by preparing these homemade rocket pops, with a creamy custard center, up to a week in advance. The three elements that give the pops their red, white and blue colors — smashed raspberries, creamy vanilla pudding and lemony cooked blueberries — can also be prepared separately a day before you assemble the pops.

Equipment: You will need ten 5-ounce paper cups, such as Dixie brand, or ice pop molds.

Active time: 1 hour Total time: 6 hours 20 mins

Make Ahead: The rocket pops can be made up to 1 week in advance of serving. The pops’ components can be made up to 1 day before assembling the pops.

Storage Notes: Freeze for up to 1 week.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10 servings; makes ten 5-ounce rocket pops

  • For the compote
  • 1 pint (12 ounces/340 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • For the pudding
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the smash
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


Make the compote: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the berries burst and the mixture resembles a sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Place 10 five-ounce paper cups on a rimmed, 9-by-13-inch baking sheet, and ladle 2 tablespoons of the compote into each cup. Transfer the sheet to the freezer and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Make the pudding: Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan off heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. One at a time, whisk in the egg yolks, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to a boil. Continuing to whisk, reduce the heat so the mixture is at a simmer and cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. If it seems thin, continue boiling for a few minutes more, whisking constantly.

Remove from the heat and strain through the fine-mesh sieve into a bowl using a rubber spatula to press it through, or, if desired, pour directly into the bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Cover, and, if desired, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool and thick, about 2 hours.

Make the smash: While the pudding chills, in a medium bowl, use a fork to smash the raspberries, sugar and almond extract until the mixture is chunky but without any large pieces.

Once the blueberry compote is semi-frozen — press it with a clean finger and it should create a dent — and the pudding has chilled, spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the pudding into each paper cup. Smooth the pudding with the back of the spoon, insert a wooden ice pop stick in the center of each cup and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, so that the layer has time to partially set. It does not need to be completely frozen for the next layer.

Remove the pops once more and spoon 2 tablespoons of the raspberry smash on top of each pop. Return the tray to the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, run only the cup under warm running water and, holding the stick, pull the pop gently to unmold.

Recipe Source

From food writer Hannah Selinger.

Tested by Hattie Ulan and Debi Suchman.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 246

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 95mg 32%

Sodium: 97mg 4%

Total Carbohydrates: 32g 11%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 25g

Protein: 4g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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