Black and Gold Zubaz Pudding Pops

Every year when my birthday has come and gone, I know that the Summer is nearing an end. It's always bittersweet, because I typically haven't eaten as much ice cream or done as much beach bumming as I would like at this point in the season. Nonetheless, by August, training camp is in full swing, preseason games start popping up on the schedule, and the regular season is just around the corner. And holy moly do I love the Fall. Until then, let's savor what's left of Summer with a yummy popsicle recipe. 

These swirly pudding pops were inspired by one of my Pittsburgh thrift store purchases from this past weekend. Here comes the disclaimer - I recognize that my $7 Goodwill score is not the true, licensed Zubaz brand that $Bill wore during my childhood in the early 1990s and that has made a resurgence in popularity over the past few years.* No, my new, wildly-patterned, second-hand Steelers pants are one of the many copycats ("NIXZ"?) that emerged from the comparably wild popularity of the original Zubaz

I remember thinking as a kid that these pants were just plain ridiculous. I couldn't wrap my head around it at all. $Bill is a pretty serious guy - and his preferred attire on a Sunday afternoon were black and gold zebra pants?? 

Like many critics of the style in the '90s, I laughed at them. A lot. In spite of the contingent of the public that didn't get it, the unique design saw huge success - success which peaked when the Super Bowl came to Minnesota (Zubaz's hometown) in 1992. Sales began to slow over the next few years and by '96, the Zubaz brand filed for bankruptcy. Even after the zebra stripes faded from popularity, I never forgot about those wild pants, and the novelty continued to grow on me. I started occasionally browsing the Vintage Steelers Clothing listings on eBay in hopes that I might find a reasonably-priced pair in the Steelers' color-scheme. 

What up, Carnell Lake! (bottom left)

As popular culture phenomena often do, the brand started to make a comeback in 2008, especially with the younger generation of sports fans (that may or may not have also laughed at their fathers, uncles and cousins for wearing Zubaz in the early '90s). The Zubaz movement has continued to grow since the company came out of retirement, and the unmistakable pants have been spotted (or striped?) in recent films - including 2013 releases Pain & Gain and Spring Breakers

Pudding pop time! These are crazy easy and so yummy. You will need a popsicle mold and possibly some sticks, depending on the mold. I do like these yellow molds from Target, but the Creative Director already had some with yellow, red and blue toppers that worked very nicely (and are color-coordinating with the Steelmark). 

The idea is to make one batch of (from-scratch) pudding, divide into two separate bowls, add chocolate to one, then vanilla and yellow food coloring into the other. The "Black and Gold" puddings then get layered and swirled together in the popsicle molds. Make sure you're wearing your Zubaz when you whip these up...

*$Bill still has and wears the same pair of Zubaz. They're super rad.

Black and Gold Zubaz Pudding Pops
Recipe adapted from Ambrosia Baking

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch 
pinch of salt
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10-12 drops yellow food coloring

Stir sugar, cornstarch and salt together in small bowl. Whisk milk, cream and egg yolks together in saucepan over low heat, then whisk in sugar mixture. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once you notice the mixture begining to thicken (after about 5-8 minutes), lower the heat and stir for a minute more. Remove from heat and divide mixture into two separate bowls. Stir chocolate into one bowl, stirring until it melts and thoroughly combines. Stir vanilla and food coloring into the second bowl. Allow both mixtures to cool for 15-20 minutes. 

Spoon the pudding into your molds, alternating between vanilla and chocolate until filled to the top. I had enough pudding for exactly all 8 popsicle molds. As you layer the pudding, gently tap the mold against the countertop to eliminate any air bubbles. Once molds are filled, take a chopstick or skewer and poke into each mold to create a swirled look. Don't over-mix, or the pudding will just blend together - I simply poked the chopstick straight down a few times in each mold rather than making a stirring motion. 

Place popsicle sticks or plastic tops in molds, then molds in the freezer for 4-6 hours until frozen. When it's time to remove the pops, you can run the molds under warm water to help loosen them.

Makes about 8 pudding pops.

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