Refined Sugar and Dairy Free Coconut Granita Recipe
I love the word “granite.” It sounds so sophisticated when you say you are serving granita for dessert. Ironically, granita is nothing if not simple – basically water and sugar turned into a glorified slushy. Now see, doesn’t “granita” sound so much better than “Big Gulp”?
This Refined Sugar and Dairy Free Coconut Granita recipe is a twist on one of my favorites, coffee granita with whipped cream. The granita is made with nothing more than coconut palm sugar and water (making it refined sugar free) and the cream part is whipped coconut cream (making it dairy free) that is made by skimming the cream that has risen to the top of a cold can of full fat coconut milk and beating it with cold beaters. If you like, you can sweeten the coconut cream with a touch of organic powdered sugar. Put your cans of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you want to make this – cold cream is easier to skim from the top. Once whipped, the coconut cream can sit in the fridge for a day or so – just whisk it lightly right before serving.
“Why not just skim the cream from the coconut milk and use the coconut water in the granita instead of water?” you may ask. I tried that, and while delicious, the resulting mixture was more like a sherbet – lovely, but not what I was looking for. The mixture was creamy in both color and texture. I was hoping for more contrast of both color and texture between the granita and the cream.
Granita is typically made by simply placing the water and sugar mixture into the freezer and scraping it with a fork every few hours as it freezes. I am a little impatient (always!) so I jump start my granita by making it in the ice cream maker. Then I pour it into a metal cake pan, stick it in the freezer for an hour and finally give it a scraping with a fork until it is all crystally and granular. Once done, the granita can sit in the freezer until you want to serve it. The scraped ice stays frozen and light waiting there for you to scoop some up and serve with your lovely, dairy free coconut milk whipped cream. Or eat straight from the pan, standing in front of the freezer on a blistering hot day.
Not that I would ever do that.
Combine the coconut sugar with the boiling water and whisk until all the sugar has been dissolved. Add the cold water and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 45 minutes. Pour into an ice cream maker, make and process for 20 minutes or according to the manufacturers directions. Put the mixture into an 8 or 9 inch square pan and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Scrape the mixture with a fork until granular and fluffy.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker simply pour the mixture into a 8 or 9 inch square pan (I prefer metal over glass) and place in the freezer for 2 hours. Using a fork, rake the top of the granita and freeze for another hour. Repeat every hour for 3 to 4 hours or until the mixture is fully set. Can be made several days ahead.
Skim the cream from the top of the coconut milk, reserve the left over coconut milk for another purpose (like making smoothies!). Put into a mixing bowl, set the bowl with the coconut cream and the mixer beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes. Add the powdered sugar if desired and beat until the mixture becomes whipped cream. Can be made a day or two ahead and stored, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
To serve layer the granita with the coconut cream.
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