Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tropical Granita

In my last post on the joys of Homemade Coconut Milk, we’ll look at the most traditional use of coconut:  Dessert!  Coconut milk can be used in savory or sweet dishes, but I think most people like to find coconut mingling with chocolate or fruit.  Here’s a recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way – Tropical Granita!
For some reason, my girls won’t try new fruits readily, but if I put them in a smoothie or in this granita, they love it!  A granita, if you don’t know, is like a cross between a sorbet and shaved ice.  It’s icy, flaky, and refreshing!  You can use any fresh, juicy fruit you want here – mangoes, peaches, any berries – but be sure you add at least one banana.  The bananas create a thicker texture and enough sweetness that you don’t need to add any sugar!  You could use frozen fruit too – pineapple and raspberries would be lovely!  I used nectarines, bananas, and strawberries.
As with all homemade recipes, there are pros and cons.  The pro, of course, is there are no sweeteners, preservatives, artificial color, etc.  The con is that since there are no stabilizers and gums, this granita is a little more difficult to scoop than commercial ice cream.  I take it out of the freezer about half an hour before we eat it, so it can soften up a little.  It’s a great motivator – I tell my daughter I’m taking dessert out of the freezer, so if she wants to eat some, she better start eating that broccoli on her plate!
Tropical Sorbet
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut and 1 1/2 cups water (or one can coconut milk)
  • 3 nectarines or peaches
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • optional toppings:  whipped cream, shredded coconut, strawberry jam
  1. In a blender, blend the coconut and water.  Strain through a colander and cheese cloth.  Return coconut milk to the blender.  (If using canned coconut milk, just pour it in the blender!)
  2. Boil a pot of water.  Score an X on the bottom of each peach or nectarine.  Drop each nectarine into the water and let it boil for 30 seconds.  Remove the nectarines to an ice bath.  When cool, peel off the skin.  Cut the flesh from the pits and add to the blender.
  3. Add the banana to the blender and blend for 30 seconds.  Remove stems from strawberries and cut in half.  Add to blender and pulse a few times – I like to see chunks of berries!
  4. Pour into a large, shallow container and cover with plastic wrap.  Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.  To serve, let thaw for about half an hour, and then scrape up with a spoon or fork.  Mound in a dish and serve with whipped cream, more diced berries or coconut flakes, or a dollop of strawberry jam!
These make great popsicles too!

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