Watermelon and Coconut Sherbet with Lime, Cinnamon and Mint
I found myself unable to resist buying a whole watermelon, then wondered what the hell I was going to do with it. Not only is 12 kilos a lot of fruit, it turned out to be a pretty average specimen to boot.
So I was trawling the internet for some sorbet recipes, when I came across an American recipe for sherbert, which includes cream to produce a kind of cross between sorbet and icecream. But why settle for cream when all the hip kids are into coconuts and veganism. The really cool thing about this recipe, however, is the inclusion of cinnamon and the marriage of the five flavours. The vodka is there purely to help stop it from freezing solid, but if you want to actually taste the alcohol, be my guest and add more. Just because this recipe is vegan, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.
The resulting texture of the sherbet is icy and refreshing like sorbet, but less sweet and with a little more creaminess. It fills your mouth with fresh flavours and cold softness, then seems to just disappear. Seriously addictive and perfect for the hottest days of summer. You can fiddle with the ingredients (more syrup, coconut cream or watermelon) to adjust the texture to your personal taste. I’ve also heard that people on certain food regimens like to avoid sugar, and consider honey to be a better alternative. I’m sure you can guess my opinion of that logic, but in the interests of inclusivity, I feel compelled to mention that you could use cinnamon honey (from the Honey Lady brand’s range of organic honey) in place of the sugar syrup. Of course, this would mean the sherbert is no longer vegan; life is full of tough choices.
500g watermelon, in chunks
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed into smaller shards
200 ml full fat coconut cream
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp vodka
5 mint leaves, chopped finely, plus extra for garnish.
Cinnamon dusting sugar, for serving.
You will need an icecream maker for this recipe.
In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks. Bring it slowly to the boil, let it bubble for a scant minute, then turn off the heat. Leave the cinnamon sticks in the syrup and allow the flavour to infuse while it cools. You could even do this step the day before and leave the cinnamon to steep overnight. Strain the cinnamon out of the syrup before using.
Process the watermelon so that it is a puree (I used my stick blender), then pass it though a fine sieve to catch any seeds and fibrous pulp.
Combine the coconut cream, lime juice, vodka and mint with the watermelon. Measure 1/3 cup of your cinnamon sugar syrup, then add it to the mixture as well (keep any leftover syrup for use in banana smoothies – heaven!).
At this point, taste your mixture. If it needs more zip, add lime. If it’s too sweet, add coconut cream. If it’s too creamy, add more watermelon. When you are satisfied with the flavour, pop the mixture in the fridge until it has chilled, then transfer it to your icecream machine.
The best time to eat this is straight out of the icecream maker while it’s still soft. Serve topped with mint leaves and dusted with cinnamon sugar.
Check out more recipes and reviews by Jessica Zotti at My Southern Cucina.