Labor day might officially mark the end of summer but I really don't want to give two hoots about the start of fall yet. It always seems too soon, especially when you love one season more than the others. It also really doesn't help that some of the television channels are running Christmas movies right now (what happened to Halloween and Thanksgiving?). Thankfully, the warm weather and I are on the same wavelength with neither of us wanting summer to leave, I know summer will put up a decent fight. So until autumn boots summer away, I'm going to happily chill out with these coffee granitas and think about all things .
I love Thai and Vietnamese iced coffees, each of them unique in their own special ways, one flavored with spices such as green cardamom while the other, sweetened with condensed milk. You can't go wrong with either of them, at least that's what I think. Since, it's hard for me to pick a favorite, I decided that the best thing to do, would be to create a granita, that represented the personalities of both of drinks. Double the inspiration and double the dose of flavor as the name suggests!
Since this is a double granita, let's start with the first one, the coffee! I recommend using a chicory type of coffee but if you have a personal favorite, feel free to try that out in this recipe. The coffee granita is mixed with a sugar syrup infused with freshly crushed green cardamom pods that makes this simply amazing! The second granita is a little different, instead of using condensed milk, I decided to use sweetened coconut milk that is infused with vanilla, I find that it freezes well and tastes great. Condensed milk would give a more ice cream like texture that I didn't want for this dessert.
This coffee granita is going to be my buddy this weekend while I enjoy the long holiday. Have a great weekend!
thai & vietnamese inspired coffee granita
yields: 6 servings
6 green cardamom pods
1 cup water
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups of double strength (brewed) coffee (preferably chicory, I used Community Coffee but Cafe du Monde is good too)
4 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract)
1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the green cardamom pods to release the seeds and crush the seeds. Add the crushed cardamom (the green shell with the crushed seeds) to a medium sized saucepan with the water and 1 cup of the sugar. Bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame. Once it begins to boil, remove and stir in the coffee. Remove from stove and keep aside. Allow to cool to room temperature.
2. Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the coconut milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Using a sharp knife slit the vanilla bean across its length. Scrape the seeds and add the seeds and the bean to the coconut milk. Heat the mixture over a medium-low flame for about 10 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the milk just begins to boil. Remove from stove and allow to cool temperature. (If you're using vanilla extract, then add the extract after the liquid is removed from the stove).
3. Once the coffee mixture is completely cooled, stir and pass it through a tea strainer to get rid of the cardamom. Pour the liquid into a flat pan that is freezer-proof (I used a cake pan). Cover with cling film and place in the freezer.
4. If you used a vanilla bean in the coconut milk, remove the bean and discard. Pour the rest of the coconut is freezer-proof (I used a cake pan). Cover with cling film and place in the freezer.
5. After 1 1/2- 2 hours remove both pans from the freezer. The mixture in each pan should resemble a frozen slush. Crush any large frozen chunks that might have formed and stir the contents. Cover each pan with cling film and place back in the freezer. After 30 minutes crush any large chunks and stir the contents, cover and place back in the freezer. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, the mixture in each pan will be frozen, remove the cling film and scrape the surface with a fork to create flaky crystals. At this point the granita is ready to serve. Serve in chilled glasses filled generously with half of the coffee granita and half of the coconut milk granita.