You will all be pleased to know that I have spent the last week in Missouri at the home of Doug and Courtney Mertens. If you have been following along, you will remember that I have the Mertens to thank for some of my favorite recipes on PIE. I always come home from a visit excited to cook. Missouri was lovely and cool. We drove back into Dallas and were greeted by triple digit temperatures. I was grateful to have a new frozen treat to make. I came home to a flock of Angry Birds on which my son, Ford, had spent the last of his birthday money. I dodged birds and we all made a big tray of Sunshine Slush.
The Mertens embody hospitality. It is easy to be around them. There is no fuss. You never have the uncomfortable sense that they have toiled endlessly on your behalf, but you want for nothing and all of the food is comforting and delicious. Okay, there was a little fuss. Courtney made a huge tray of cannelloni that was superb. She says it is quite easy but I’m not sure that I believe her.
This treat is from the kitchen of Mrs. Karen Mertens. She is Doug’s mom and raised 4 boys, and so knows a thing or two about keeping kids cool in the summer. If you remember, Karen is also the inspiration for Love Pie. Sunshine Slush is reminiscent of the Orange Julius pops from last summer but an altogether different type of treat. It is a frozen combination of frozen fruits and juices that is then scraped up with a fork or ice cream scoop and served with club soda. And while we served the dessert treat version, I have to say it would also be a natural for a frozen cocktail, laced with vodka or rum along with the club soda.
My inclination is to always try to “improve” recipes. I thought to add more fruit or use less concentrate, but then I wised up to the enduring wisdom that simple is good and not everything has to be scoured of every last bit of corn syrup. Although, I would like for Minute Maid to enjoy the real sugar renaissance being undertaken by soda companies and offer a sugar option for frozen concentrates if feasible. But, I digress. This treat is perfect exactly the way it is. Served thusly, it cooled down a household of Mertens boys way back when and made my children and me very happy this week. Courtney had a big tub of it prepared for our arrival and we killed it in short order. No matter where you are, and especially if you are in a region already in the 100s as North Texas is, I suggest that you round up the supplies for Sunshine Slush and bring down the temperature a bit.
A big thanks to Courtney and Doug who put up with us for an incredibly pleasant 8 days spanning lake visits, quarry fishing, street fairs, country cruises, and an unimaginable amount of eating. And thanks to Karen for another great treat and an afternoon of frogs, a big fluffy rabbit, and golf cart rides.
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 6-ounce cans frozen orange juice concentrate
2 6-ounce cans frozen lemonade concentrate
2 12-ounce cans pineapple juice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 large bottle of club soda
Bring the water and sugar to a gentle boil and cook for 3 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool completely. I suggest putting this in the refrigerator for at least an hour to cool it. Meanwhile clear out a space in your freezer for your pan that is at least 9” x 13” in size. Place your container in the freezer to chill while you prepare everything else.
In a blender, combine the frozen concentrates, bananas, pineapple and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Combine the syrup and the blended juices and pour into a flat plastic container or glass baking dish. Freeze until solid. This could take up to 24 hours.
To serve, scrape out the frozen juice and serve it in a glass, topped with club soda. You determine the sweetness of the finished product by how much club soda you use. If you use a tiny bit of club soda it is extremely sweet and tart. Add a little more and it is a bit more mellow.
My blender is tiny. I had to blend in batches and mix it all together in the pan.
Courtney had a wonderful plastic pan with handles and a cover that was absolutely perfect for this.
I’m not kidding about checking your freezer first. This makes a huge sloshy tray of juice and you are going to be mad at me if you go to put it in the freezer after all this work and it doesn’t fit.