If you haven't tried acerola (Dominican cherries), then you've missed out on one of our favorite fruits. Acerola, cereza dominicana, or Barbados cherries is a Caribbean fruit that we enjoy in desserts, juices, and jams. And since it's so hot here, we also love paleta de cerezas.
Why we ❤️ it
It may look like your usual cherries from further north, but cereza dominicana, acerola, or Barbados cherry is unrelated to cherries.
I love the gentle sourness of acerola with a mixture of flavors that taste like lime and cherry at the same time, and in the hot Caribbean summer, paletas de cereza are a very welcome treat.
What's cereza dominicana?
While we call it cereza Dominicana, this lovely Dominican fruit is known as Barbados cherries in English, and acerola in most Spanish-speaking countries. Unlike its namesake, these "cherries" cannot be pitted, as they have three large, soft, edible drupes instead.
Cerezas have very thin skin and soft flesh and bruise easily, which makes it a very difficult fruit to commercialize at scale. It's usually available through street vendors or from people's gardens.
Acerola popsicles (paletas de cereza).
More paletas dominicanas
We love paletas, and can turn anything into paletas, so, unsurprisingly, there are many paleta recipes in my collection (and more popsicle recipes here). Our favorite are definitely paletas de tamarindo, paletas de coco, y paletas de batata. Check them out!
- The sweetness levels of cerezas Dominicanas can vary a lot, so while I suggest an amount of sugar, it's best you sweeten it to your own preference.
- I sometimes add the juice of 1 lime to it to amp the summer flavors. You can try that too.
- You can substitute your preferred sweetener for sugar, this can also be a great keto dessert if you do not add regular sugar.
- If you can't find cerezas dominicanas, try a mixture of red cherries and lime juice. It's nice in its own way.
- Paletas can last for a month in the freezer.
About this recipe
This is just of the many juices I've encountered as paletas or "esquimalitos" in the Dominican Republic, so there isn't much of a recipe or tradition to it.
Have you had esquimalitos / paletas / helado de cerezas dominicanas? Let me know in the comments!
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Paleta de Cereza Dominicana [Recipe + Video] Acerola Popsicles
- 2 cups acerola (West Indian cherries), cerezas, Dominican cherries (rinsed)
- ¾ cup sugar (white, granulated), (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- In the blender vase, combine acerola cerezas with 1½ cups of potable water. Blend slowly for about 90 seconds so the pulp breaks down without dissolving the drupes (seeds).If you have a juicer, press the fruit and then add the water to the extracted juice.
- Strain the juice with a medium-mesh strainer, pressing the fruit to extract as much juice as possible.
- Add sugar to taste and vanilla to the juice.Pour the juice into 6-8 popsicle molds (depending on the size you have), or into glasses with smooth tapered sides.Add the sticks.
Freeze and serve
- Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.To remove them from the mold, dip the mold in lukewarm water for a couple of seconds to loosen the popsicles and serve inmediately.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
More acerola recipes
There isn't a season for them, so we get to enjoy them year-round in acerola juice, cereza en almíbar (an acerola in spiced syrup dessert), acerola jam, and – of course – popsicles.
Barbados cherries are edible, and they are delicious.
Barbados cherry, or acerola, can be used in desserts, jams, and juices.
Barbados cherry taste like a mixture of cherry and lime juice, it's slightly acidic and can be sweeter depending on the ripeness.