WITH RECIPE: A touch of sweet for the summer: Blackberries, Basil + Coconut Cream

Blackberries, Basil + Coconut Cream

Photos: Allison Chilcote

Confession: I’m a major dessert girl. I’ve finally come to the realization that this will never change. My best friends know this about me and I’m lucky to say they stand by my side through this (slight) obsession. While it’s usually chocolate, at times I do venture outside of my comfort and convenience of what is tucked away in my kitchen baking basket…especially when there are fresh berries involved.

That was the case last week, when a handful of fresh blackberries, some fresh basil, and coconut cream combined to become the perfect touch of sweet for the summer.

If you hadn’t noticed, Fayetteville has had a double dose of rain this season which has proven to be amazingly fruitful, providing the inspiration for this dessert (pun intended). Over-indulging in fresh and splurging on what’s seasonal becomes oh so easy when you have an abundance of local goodness at your fingertips.

Seeing fresh basil at the Farmers Market means life is good and the summer heat becomes suddenly and momentarily tolerable. Basil always finds a way to creep into my salads and sautés, but this week, I was feeling adventurous (or lazy?), searching for that extra something to throw in my berry bowl and the basil sitting in my windowsill jar caught my eye. It has such a simple, natural sweetness.

And oh my, it did not disappoint!

Trust me when I say you won’t feel skimped with flavor or miss out on that luxurious dessert feel (thanks to the homemade whip) all while keeping it simple and quick. It’s a win-win, really.

Flavor breakdown: The blackberries subtly tart, cold coconut milk whip is extra creamy, sprinkle of torn basil adds a nice bite, and drizzle of honey for a slight sweetness.

Oh, and may I add it’s naturally gluten free and nut free? Ah, an unexpected bowl of perfection.

Here’s how to make it. Enjoy!

Blackberries, Basil + Coconut Cream

The ingredients

(Servings: 2)
2 cups local blackberries
3 basil leaves
1 Tbsp honey
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp organic powdered sugar
2-3 drops stevia
1 vanilla bean

How To:
Place coconut milk can (unshaken) into the refrigerator a minimum of 24 hours ahead of when you want to make the dessert; place mixing beaters and small mixing bowl into the freezer – everything should be as cold as possible.

Day of: Rinse blackberries and pat dry with a towel. Divide equally into two small serving bowls – set aside. Bring cold coconut milk out of the fridge and mixing bowl/beaters out of the freezer.

Flip the can over and open from the bottom. The cream will have risen to the top, so this makes it easiest to pour the clear liquid into a storage container (note: it won’t be used in this recipe) and scoop white cream only into the mixing bowl.

Place the vanilla bean on a cutting board, and while holding both sides of the bean make a sharp cut from top to bottom of the vanilla bean to open it. Use a small spoon and scrape along the inside of the open bean to get all of the vanilla-y goodness out. Add the powdered sugar and stevia to the bowl of coconut cream.

Beat all ingredients until peaks form (appx 2 min). Dollop cream onto each bowl of blackberries, tear basil leaves on top, and drizzle with honey (I like to add 1 whole leaf per bowl for a final garnish). Enjoy, porch side!

Swap whip cream for vanilla yogurt, substitute blackberries for a peach and blueberry combo, top with shredded coconut.

Allison Chilcote (@alchilcote) creates simple and fresh recipes for every-day doers, proud chocolate snob, marathon runner and Farmers Market frequenter.