Back in culinary school, in the lecture about puréed fresh fruit sauces, they told us never to make one out of kiwi. They said the seeds would give the sauce a peppery flavor, and that would be bad. I guess I didn’t feel passionately enough about kiwi to question, let alone defy the rule. Had it been something I’m crazy about, like blueberries or nectarines, you know I would have gone right out and done it anyway. But now that I’m getting tasty organic kiwis on a fairly regular basis from my CSA share, I want to do something more with them than simply slicing and eating.
Enter David Lebovitz‘ delectable book, The Perfect Scoop. (I’ve been priding myself on not buying any small electrical kitchen appliances while here in France – except for the immersion blender which takes up so little space and does so much – but since acquiring this book, I am now in desperate need of an ice cream maker. Don’t know where I’m going to put it, but I’ll find the space somewhere.) Anyway, in his book, Lebovitz includes recipes for both a kiwi sorbet and a kiwi granita, both of which require puréeing the forbidden fruit.
Seeing as I don’t have that sorbetière just yet, granita was the way to go. And it seemed like a great way to use up lots of kiwis quickly, which is imperative when they’re as ripe as the ones I’ve been getting lately. Plus, the idea was just so deliciously rebellious. So I defiantly busted out the immersion blender and puréed a bunch of kiwis. I was delighted to see that the seeds – the potentially overly peppery (and is that necessarily a bad thing?) dessert-ruiners – stayed whole, leaving no doubt as to what kind of fruit had just been puréed. I also owe a tip of the toque to Martha Stewart and her team, for giving me the idea of pairing kiwis with jasmine tea. Thanks to her, a jasmine green tea syrup sweetened the kiwi purée and gave the finished granita a touch of the exotic.
But what gave it more than a touch of scrumptiousness was the whipped cream on top, lightly sweetened with Tasmanian leatherwood honey. If you are unfamiliar with Tasmanian honey, it is a delightfully floral and unique tasting honey. You could substitute another interesting honey, or just use sugar in your whipped cream. In general, when I think of granita, I think “palate cleanser.” But a billow of whipped cream on top definitely (or defiantly) turns it into dessert.
This recipe makes a granita with a mysterious hint of jasmine. If you want the floral notes to be more pronounced, feel free to double the amount of loose tea in the syrup. The purée can be prepared in a food processor, blender, or (my favorite) directly in the container you plan on freezing it in, with an immersion blender.
1 lb./500 g fresh kiwifruits
8 oz./240 g jasmine tea syrup (recipe below)
- Peel the kiwis and cut them into small pieces. Be sure to remove any tough bits near the stem ends. Add half the syrup and purée in a few short pulses. Pour in the rest of the syrup (you don’t have to use all of it, especially if your kiwis are very sweet) and purée until smooth with the seeds evenly distributed. It should look like a burst kiwifruit.
- Pour into a shallow plastic container (if it isn’t there already) and place in the freezer. Wait an hour, then stir gently with a fork, breaking up any ice crystals that are beginning to form. Repeat every 30-45 minutes until the granita is completely frozen and snowy in texture.
- Serve in chilled vessels with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with slices of kiwi and slivers of crystallized ginger, if you wish.
Makes 4-6 restrained servings.
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Jasmine Tea Syrup
If you have any of this syrup left over, try using it to sweeten fresh lemonade. Maybe you’d better make some extra.
6 oz./175 ml water
½ in./1 cm piece of ginger, peeled
1 Tbsp. loose jasmine green tea
½ cup/100 g granulated sugar
- Bring the water to a boil with the ginger. Put the tea in a heatproof measuring jug. When the water boils, pour it over the tea up to the ½ cup/120 ml mark. Let steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar in the remaining water. (Return the pan to the heat if necessary.) Pour the tea back into the sugar water, straining out the tea leaves. Cool, and remove the ginger before using.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.