I am so honored to be sharing this recipe from my friend Lauren McDuffie’s brand new cookbook Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest – which features stories and recipes inspired by her life growing up in the Appalachian Mountain South. The moment I began reading her book, I knew it was a treasure. Lauren has a way with words that draws you into the world she wants you to experience. Her way with food honors the traditions of the land she came from while giving her recipes enough modernity to transform traditional comfort food into inspired meals for everyone. Which leads me to the recipe I chose to share with you today. After reading through Lauren’s cookbook, there was one recipe that I could not get out of my mind – her Buttermilk & Lemongrass Granita. This unexpected combination of flavors had already won me over before I had even made it.
Buttermilk is a staple in Southern baking, the soured milk does wonders for biscuits, cornbread, cakes & pancakes. But I would have never expected it to be so incredible in a frozen dessert. The creamy tang of the buttermilk combines with coconut, lemongrass & ginger in this recipe for a granita that is unlike any granita you have ever tasted.
Ever since my first taste, I have been intrigued by this recipe. The texture is icy yet creamy. The flavors are perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweetness to leave your palate refreshed. Lauren suggests serving her buttermilk & lemongrass granita with fresh mango slices, but since we are in the thick of melon season here, I served mine with balls of sweet orange melon (this is my favorite melon baller). As the granita starts to melt (which they so quickly do) you get this amazing trio of textures. The icy chunks of granita, the melty pools of sweet lemongrass-infused buttermilk & coconut cream contrasting with the juicy melon – it is a culinary experience that I will never forget.
If you’re interested in learning more about Lauren’s beautiful cookbook Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest, you can find out more here. For a chance to win a copy of your own, check out this post on Instagram where I am hosting a giveaway for her book!