Food52 Best Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Runner Up
Food52 Editors' Comments: This is delightful, with great use of mint and basil. I really liked this flavor combination and there's so much going on: The hot with the cold, the caramelized sweet nectarine with the earthy, creamy coconut, and fresh flavor from the mint, lime, and basil. Incredible. The grilling adds a savory note and I can't get over how the flavors of the herbs are not lost, but heightened. The process is incredibly easy, as you can make the "snow" in advance. All you have to do is grab some stone fruit and you're ready to impress.
Springtime in Denver is a mess. You might go from super hot weather to a blizzard, often in the same day. This year we seemed to go straight from winter to summer with barely a lick of spring weather. And with the onset of afternoons in the upper-80s, I was feeling like making something cold and refreshing. Recently I became mildly obsessed with turning various things into a granita-like consistency. From caramelized carrots with goat cheese "snow" to savory, slushy chimichurris, I was exploring a variety of options. A flavored coconut milk seemed like a perfect candidate and I thought it would pair nicely with grilled stone fruit. It is not quite peach season here, so I settled for some nectarines, but once the Palisade peaches hit town, this dish will be even better. You can serve the fruit right off the grill so the "snow" melts quickly into a sauce, or do them ahead of time and serve them room temperature to enjoy the icy coconut as it melts in your mouth.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup coconut milk (I used full-fat)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons mint
4 nectarines (or peaches, apricots, or bananas!)
Neutral flavored oil
- Heat sugar and water until sugar has dissolved into a simple syrup. Cool. Mix 3 tablespoons of the simple syrup with coconut milk, lime, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon each of the basil and mint. (And if you want a nice cocktail while you grill the fruit, muddle a couple lime halves with basil and mix with remaining simple syrup and tequila!)
- Pour the mixture into a 9-x-9-inch baking dish, cover and freeze. You can either stir with a fork every 15 minutes or so to get a finer crumble, or let the whole thing freeze and crack it into chunks. (It took a little over an hour for mine to set.) This can be made ahead.
- Heat a grill and be sure the grate is clean. Cut fruit in half, lightly brush with oil, and grill cut side down just until grill marks appear. Put on a plate (or bowl) and top with coconut snow. Garnish with basil and lime zest if desired.