Posts Tagged ‘refreshing desserts’

Summer Dessert Idea!

July 15, 2009

Shiraz Events NYC’s executive chef Tessa Liebman gives some great summer desserts for you to try at your next gathering! From Hibiscus Watermelon Paletas (popsicles) to a simple Granita, Tessa has suggested some refreshing and delicious desserts to have your guests coming back for more of your great hosting.


Hibiscus Watermelon Paleta

Backgrounder: Hibiscus, the large tropical flower, is enjoyed as a hot infusion and cool drink throughout the world. In Egypt it is a hot tea (and is one of the main ingredients in the Celestial Seasonings classic, Red Zinger). In Jamaica it is called sorrel which is served both hot and cold and in Mexico it is referred to as “Jamaica” and is a flavor of the popular cool drinks called “aguas.” Its tart cranberry-like flavor and deep red color is a fantastic new ingredient to get to know this summer.

hibiscus flower

We’re not the only ones who think so– hibiscus has also been showing up on many menus around New York City. At Perilla in the West Village it is used in a broth with Thai basil that surrounds a skate wing. It is also featured on many cocktail lists like the one at Jo’s, the new Nolita spot on Elizabeth Street, where it is paired with gin in the ‘Hibiscus Cooler’.

Here is a recipe that celebrates the refreshing quality of hibiscus paired with the sweetness of summer watermelon.


2 cups of water

¼ cup of dried hibiscus flowers or 10 hibiscus tea bags

½ cup of sugar or 1/3 cup of agave syrup

1 cup of watermelon, cubed 

Make the hibiscus infusion: Boil water on the stove and add dried hibiscus. Boil for 2 minutes, then turn of heat. Cover and let mixture infuse for ten minutes. Add the sugar or agave syrup and remove cover to allow infusion to cool. This will be very concentrated and a dark red color.

Make the watermelon puree: Puree the watermelon in a blender or food processor.

When the infusion is cooled to room temperature, strain the hibiscus flowers out with a fine mesh strainer. Add the infusion to the watermelon puree and mix well.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until ready to eat. Unmold pops by submerging mold in warm water, this will help loosen them.

** You can find dried hibiscus flowers at specialty food stores (such as Whole Foods), Latin markets and herb and spice stores.

popsicle 3

If you’re feeling really resourceful, the base of puree and infusion can also be used to produce a light and delicious granita.


To make the granita: Pour liquid (base which you made above) into a shallow pan (preferably metal as it will conduct the cold and freeze fastest) and place in freezer — after two hours rake a fork through the mixture to break up the ice. This creates a smoother texture later. After two more hours, remove from the freezer and rake again with a fork. Scoop into glasses and serve.

Would your guests prefer an alcoholic dessert? The granita can be mixed with lime juice and tequila and you’ve got yourself a great tasting and looking margarita!