buttermilk & lemongrass granita

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.

Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest | 
a cookbook by Lauren McDuffie
fresh melon | ful-filled.com

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.

buttermilk & lemongrass granita with fresh melon
buttermilk & lemongrass granita from Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest by Lauren McDuffie

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.

buttermilk & lemongrass granita with fresh melon

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!


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  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Units Scale
  • (1) 14.5 oz (415 g) can of coconut milk (make sure to stir or shake the can before opening)
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) cream of coconut
  • (1) 1/2-in (12 mm) piece fresh ginger, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh, in-season melon, scooped into balls, for serving (or substitute sliced mango)
  • Coconut flakes for serving (unsweetened or sweetened; optional)


  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, cream of coconut, ginger sugar and lemongrass paste.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the buttermilk and vanilla, and allow the mixture to steep for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain into a freezer-safe, 9 by 13 in (23 by 33 cm) baking dish or pan, discarding the solids. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  5. Transfer the dish to the freezer and freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the granita from the freezer and scrape with a fork, breaking it up and flaking it until you have a fluffy frozen slushie. It will likely be quite loose still, but that’s okay. (The scraping helps create ice crystals, which give the finished dessert its requisite crunchy, flakey texture, and it keeps the mixture from freezing solid.) Return the dish to the freezer for 1 hour, and scrape again. Return to the freezer for 1 more hour, and then give it a final scrape before serving.
  6. Meanwhile, if you plan to serve the granita with the coconut flakes, put them in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the coconut, stirring occasionally, until it has browned very lightly and smells slightly nutty, 3 to 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as coconut goes from toasted to burnt very quickly.
  7. Serve the granita with the melon balls (or sliced mango) and toasted coconut, if desired. Leftover granita will keep, in a covered container in the freezer, for up to 6 months. If completely frozen, let it warm up for 30 minutes at room temperature before giving it a final scrape.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

buttermilk & lemongrass granita from Smoke, Roots, Mountain, Harvest cookbook
{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Carolyn August 13, 2019, 8:12 am

    Oh Bella, this looks so refreshing! I can’t wait to try it and can imagine how lovely it would be all year long with different seasonal fruits!

    • bella | ful-filled August 13, 2019, 4:30 pm

      It is super refreshing Carolyn and you are so right about it pairing well with different fruits in each season <3

  • niko August 14, 2019, 11:35 am

    i thought this would be weird but my wifey was adamant to make it and try it, boy was she right!!!

    • bella | ful-filled August 14, 2019, 2:00 pm

      haha! Yay for wifey insisting!

  • niko August 14, 2019, 11:37 am

    from start to finish, the front end flavors all the way to the back end flavors, you never stop being intrigued and you keep being drawn in to the crazy depths and nuances of how the flavors play off of each other and compliment each other!!

    • bella | ful-filled August 14, 2019, 2:01 pm

      I totally agree with you! It never stops being intriguing and it is a combination of flavors that you never grow tired of!

  • niko August 14, 2019, 11:40 am

    and to be TOTALLY honest, the ONLY reason i was even willing to try this in the first place was because of the photos!! they were SO BEAUTIFUL and captivating i was willing to give it a go, and, now i am SUPER grateful that i did, i LOVE this granita invention with buttermilk and lemongrass infusion and the melon balls are just straight GENIUS!!!

    • bella | ful-filled August 14, 2019, 2:01 pm

      awww, thank you so much! That means a lot to me!

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