More than desserts

Blog devoted to delicious desserts, healthy food and other good things

Perfect treats for hot summer days

Mango-banana sorbet garnished with red currants.

When hot weather hits really hard☀🔥, we crave refreshing and easy to digest foods to keep body and mind cool. We need to relax and slow down to soothe the stress created by additional demands that excessive heat puts on the body. Summer is the perfect time to indulge in light, healthy treats.  My favorite ones for the hot summer weather are homemade fruit sorbets and vegan gelatos 🍨. In their preparation, I use as few ingredients as possible, to make them light but still flavorful and creamy.

I also love granita, less popular in the States than gelatos or sorbets, but incredible in taste, very refreshing and easy to make at home. It’s very similar to a fruit sorbet but crunchier from the small chunks of frozen fruit. Granita comes from Sicily, where it’s traditionally served for breakfast with a hot brioche and coffee.  The Sicilians use a lot of added sugar in the preparation of their granitas which is unfortunate, because the sweetness of sugar overpowers the natural flavor of the fruit. The Cherry Granita 🍒 , (sweet or tart), which I’m sharing today, comes very close to the Sicilian one, but has no added sugar.

Mango-banana-red currant vegan gelato.

For the sorbet and gelato I used mango and banana 🥭🍌, available everywhere and inexpensive, and the red currants, right now in season. The tanginess of the red currants and the sweetness of mango make the perfect flavor combination that hits the spot.

Both the sorbet and the gelato are rich in vitamin C and antioxidant compounds and contain a small amount of added sugar (maple syrup).

Ingredients for the mango sorbet:

  • Pulp of 4 yellow mangos
  • 1 banana, chopped in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • grated rind of 1/2 small lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh red currants to garnish

Place all ingredients but red currants in a blender and mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into a dish with a flat bottom and freeze for about 3-4 hours. Take the sorbet out of the freezer and let it sit in the room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften before serving. Garnish with red currants or any berries.

Ingredients for the mango-red currants gelato:

  • Pulp of 4 yellow mangos
  • 1 banana, chopped in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • grated rind of 1/2 small lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh red currants
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • pinch of salt

Place all ingredients but red currants in a blender and mix until well combined. With a spoon mix in red currants and pour the mixture into a dish with a flat bottom and freeze ❄ for about 3-4 hours. Due to the high content of water in the mango, the gelato may freeze rock hard but if you take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving it will scoop beautifully.

For the sour cherry-banana granita:

Sour cherry granita with an anise star.

Ingredients:

  • 1 semi-frozen banana
  • 2 cups frozen sour cherries
  • 1 small anise star, optional
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
  • pinch of salt

This is the simplest, tastiest and healthiest recipe I’ve ever tried. Honestly. It’s hard to imagine a frozen dessert, like ice cream or gelato with so little added sugar. But this one pulls it off! The sweetness of banana is sufficient to complement the light tartness of cherries. They are packed with antioxidants and are a natural diuretic.

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined.  Adding a banana gives the frozen dessert a creamy and smooth texture and adds a bit of a natural sweetness.. Ladle the mixture into a dish and eat immediately. If you like, you can garnish the granita with an anise star.

If you decide to use other fruit combination (e.g. watermelon and mint), follow the recipe instructions and freeze the fruit before you blend it.

Note: Sour cherries lower levels of uric acid and are an effective natural remedy helpful to cure gout. The finding was confirmed by a study performed by Boston University Medical Center and published in 2012, in a supplement to the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Sour cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, a substance that may improve sleep quality.

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