Sunday, June 29, 2014

Coffee granita with coconut whipped cream

This week has been a shitty week for so many reasons, I’m thrilled it’s over and done with. All’s well that ends well but some scars are still there.

A sweet thing in my belly will make me forget many things and this granita is doing its best to accomplish that.

You know how when you make ice cream you seek that smoothness, that soft mouth-feel and richness? You know, the one that makes you eat one scoop after another without consideration of the consequences.

With granita you need almost the opposite. You need a crunchy, almost squeaky texture with the ice crystals bursting in your mouth when you bite into them, releasing their refreshing juices and, hopefully, intense flavor.

When you have a granita that also disguises as your daily coffee then it’s not only delicious and tempting but also extremely dangerous. “It’s just coffee, let’s have one more, let’s put some extra coconut whipped cream on top”. Because, yes, the best thing to serve this coffee granita with is coconut whipped cream which, if you are not already aware of, is the best thing ever.

Coconut whipped cream is coconut cream whipped to a billowy perfection. You put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and miraculously, the cream (fat) separates from the coconut water. You scoop out the cream, whip it together with some icing sugar and vanilla, and that’s it. As simple as that.

The coffee granita topped with coconut whipped cream and some dark chocolate shavings is like a luxurious icy cappuccino, with the strong flavor of coffee, with the Kahlua intensifying it, adding sweetness and a burst of alcohol, and the creamy, thick coconut whipped cream giving an exotic touch to it all.

It’s the best dessert to serve after dinner and it’s perfect for a crowd; unfussy in preparation, easy to serve, and totally delectable.

PS. A little while ago, I had the pleasure of receiving three packets of whole coffee beans from Puro Fairtrade Coffee. S and I absolutely loved the flavor and aroma, especially of the 100% Arabica beans. Apart from that, though, what we appreciated is the fact that it’s fairtrade and that the company has an admirable mission of saving rainforests. Read the company’s mission statement and watch their video. It’s very interesting.

Coffee granita

I used 100% Arabica which is one of the best types of coffee and is considered to be the first one that was ever cultivated. Use whichever type of coffee beans you enjoy. Freshly ground coffee is superior both in taste and fragrance so if you have the chance to buy it, then do so instead of using a packaged, ground one from the super-market.

I ground the whole coffee beans and prepared the coffee in a French press. The heady aroma of freshly-brewed coffee is tantalizing. Make sure to prepare your coffee strong, not weak, as its taste will get lost when frozen.

Yield: 10 small glasses

500 ml freshly brewed, strong, hot filter coffee
90 g demerara sugar
20 ml Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur

Special equipment: shallow baking tray or dish 33 x 24 cm in size (approximately), suitable for the freezer, plastic wrap

Make the coffee and while still hot, pour it into a large jug and immediately add the sugar. Stir well to dissolve. Give the coffee a taste and add more sugar if needed. Keep in mind that it must be sweeter that you would prefer or drink it normally because once frozen, the sweetness will mellow. Leave aside to cool completely.
Add the Kahlua and stir.

Pour the mixture into a shallow, large baking tray/dish suitable for the freezer and cover with plastic wrap. Keep in mind that the widest the tray the quicker the granita will freeze. If you use a smaller tray, the granita will take a very long time to freeze.

Freeze the coffee granita mixture for about 1 hour or until the liquid starts forming crystals around the tray. Take it out of the freezer and scrape the granita with a fork, breaking up the ice, and put it again in the freezer. Repeat the same process every hour, until the granita is completely frozen. This will take about 4 hours, depending on how strong your freezer is.
In the end you must have a mixture that resembles icy snow.

You can eat the granita now or keep it covered with the plastic wrap. It keeps well for 4-5 days but it’s at its best during the first two.

Coconut whipped cream

Use full-fat coconut milk as the low-fat one does not separate, and make sure it is of good quality.
It’s best if you leave the coconut milk in the fridge for 24 hours before attempting making the whipped cream. I always have a can in the fridge just in case.

You can use other sweeteners besides icing sugar, like honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar, etc.

Coconut whipped cream is ideal for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. As you can imagine, it has a strong coconut flavor so in case you don’t enjoy it, you can make a dairy whipped cream using full-fat cream to top your coffee granita with.

Use coconut whipped cream as you would regular dairy whipped cream: for cakes and cupcakes, coffee and ice creams, to top puddings, pies, tarts and mousses, etc.

Yield: about 1½ cups

1 can coconut milk (400 ml), full-fat
2 Tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Special equipment: stand or hand-held electric mixer

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before, or preferably 24 hours before you want to make the whipped cream. During this time, the coconut cream (fat) will separate from the coconut water. The cream will be on top, the water on the bottom of the can.

When you open the cold can, you will see the hard cream on top. Scoop it out carefully using a spoon until you reach the water at the bottom of the can, and add it to the bowl of your mixer or in a large bowl (if using a hand-held electric mixer). Don’t add the coconut water that has remained at the bottom of the can. You can use the water in smoothies, drinks etc., or discard it altogether.

Using the whisk attachment, if you’re using a stand mixer (or using your hand-held mixer), whisk the coconut cream to loosen it a bit. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for a few minutes (it usually takes 3-4), until you have a light and fluffy mixture with soft peaks.

You can serve it immediately (preferably) or keep it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap for later use (up to 3 days). If you leave it in the fridge for more than a few hours, it will stiffen. You will need to whip it again in order for it to become creamy and light. The flavor is not affected and it will still taste delicious after 2-3 days.


  1. Sorry to hear you had a poopy week :( But the dessert looks FANTASTIC! I will be sharing this with THE GREEK WIVES CLUB :)

  2. Magda, I love the idea of this dessert and you taught me a new thing: I had never thought of whipping coconut milk (and had no idea you could separate it like that in the fridge from the water!). Three lessons in one post! Thank you

  3. Oh dear, sounds/looks lovely and refreshing!

  4. Hi Magda,
    I love the granita, but love the tip for whipped coconut cream even more!
    Shrug off that bad week; this one will be better.

  5. Magda - this looks absolutely divine!! As I read your recipe I am enjoying a cold coffee outside of my house, and well, this makes me want to run home and make your recipe!!! Hoping next week will be a much happier week! Bring on the summer!! xx

  6. I am crazy about this recipe....the granita and the coconut whipped cream are very unique and what lovely photos! I always cook or make something delicious after a bad week as it always makes things better.

  7. I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it.
    I have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post…