Posts Tagged ‘summer dessert

24
Jul
11

Watermelon Granita

Complain about the weather and watch me roll my eyes. But this summer, I get it. I am complaining, too. It’s been a million degrees every day this past month in St. Louis. When the sun isn’t blazing, rain is pouring. And before it got hot, we had tornadoes every other week.

Yes, I am tired of it.

How hot was it this week? I’ll spare you the triple-digit heat index. It was so hot that a colleague of mine baked two dozen cookies in her car outside the paper. It was so hot that the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market was packed before 8:30 a.m. It was so hot that Gabi hasn’t gotten to splash around in her wading pool since the beginning of July.

When it’s 100-plus degrees, it’s almost too hot for ice cream. Sorbet or granita is better. Both are lighter, cleaner, stronger. This weekend, watermelon granita fit the bill.

Granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made from water, sugar, and fruit. First you make a simple syrup. Then puree the fruit in a blender. Combine the two in a metal baking dish, freeze, stir with a fork after a few hours and sha-bam. You have granita. If you need to,  put it on the counter for a few minutes to thaw a bit before serving.

I love this recipe. If you love watermelon like my toddler and I do, then you will too.

For extra indulgence,  drizzle a half-teaspoon of Campari over your bowl of granita. The result is an adult icee that will make you feel better about the heat.

Watermelon Granita
adapted from Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups watermelon,  cut into 1-inch cubes
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons Campari (optional)

Heat sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cool.

Puree the watermelon in a blender. Measure out two cups of puree. Stir in sugar syrups and lime juice. Pour into 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Freeze 2 hours. Stir with a fork, then freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Using for, scrape granita to form crystals. Spoon into bowls. Drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Campari over each.

30
Aug
10

Peach Riesling Sorbet

Two bags of fragrant peaches sat on my counter last weekend. They were too good to refrigerate, and too many to eat. They needed to be consumed ASAP or they were destined to wind up like too many peaches do in our house: mush. Icky, brown mush.

This peach sorbet was wonderful way to end the peach season. We may have another week of peaches left in St. Louis, if I’m lucky. If not, I’ll be at peace with it. It would be impossible to take a peach and top this, unless you simply take a bite of one, of course.

The explosion of peach, star anise and white wine is intense here. “Imagine the best white sangria you’ve ever had, and turn it into sorbet,” says the introduction in Gourmet Today. These final sweltering days of summer call for something cold, sweet and fruity. I just finished the last bowl of sorbet. I’m chalking this up as one of my favorite finds this year.

Peach Riesling Sorbet
Gourmet Today

1 pound peaches (3 large) peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges [or use 1 pound frozen peach slices, not thawed]
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
scant 1/2 cup superfine sugar [this can be made by whizzing granulated sugar in a food processor]
1 whole star anise or 1 teaspoon star anise pieces
1 1/2 cups Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or other slightly sweet white wine
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Toss peaches with lemon juice in a 4-quart heavy pot. Stir in sugar, star anise, and 1 cup wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer, covered, until peaches are tender, about 5 minutes.

Discard star anise. Working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender and puree (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force puree through a medium-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing hard on solids; discard solids. Stir in corn syrup and remaining 1/2 cup wine. Refrigerate, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, 6 to 8 hours.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for at least 1 hour.

Sorbet keeps for up to one week.

12
Aug
10

Rustic Plum and Port Tart

When this came out of the oven I wondered if anyone would want to try it. I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that the crust was crumbly. Or that the port wine and plums had oozed onto the parchment paper. Or that it looked a little too much like stewed beets.

I let it cool while we had leftover Indian food. Then I sliced up a piece, put a dollop of ice cream beside it and tasted. Well? Yum. I loved the deep plum flavor. Port wine is reduced to a syrup and tossed with plums before they get piled onto the crust and into the oven. The result is a little rustic, and very sophisticated. And it uses these gorgeous plums.

Continue reading ‘Rustic Plum and Port Tart’




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