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A taste of summer - Charentais melon

CC©stu spivack via flickr
CC©stu_spivack via flickr

Chris Lacey is a British chef living in France who loves French-inspired cooking. In a his series of recipes using a seasonal star ingredient, for summer he rustles up one refreshing dish with Charentais melon.

'At this time of year all the supermarkets and open-air weekly markets are offering wonderful Charente melons for sale, so I am giving you a very simple and delicious dessert.'

Granité de Melon au Champagne - a lovely summer dessert.

Serves 6

3 Charente melons (optional: keep the shells if the melons are small as they provide you with perfect serving receptacles)
350ml Champagne
70g sugar
10cl water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons cognac(or a mixture of cognac and pineau, which I prefer)
Sprigs of mint

Halve the large melons, discard the seeds and scoop out the flesh. If using the tiny ones cut off the top and proceed as with the larger ones.
Place the melon shells in the freezer and let them freeze.

Purée the flesh by pushing it through a sieve into a bowl.

In a small saucepan, make a light syrup with the sugar and water by boiling them together for one minute or until it achieves a temperature of 102 celcius or 215F). Then leave to cool.

Combine the cooled syrup with the melon flesh, lemon juice and champagne. Freeze in trays, loosening the mixture from time to time as it freezes.

Just before serving turn the mixture into an iced bowl and work it a bit with a fork as it should not be too firm, just slightly mushy.

Remove the frozen shells from the freezer and rinse them out with the cognac; then pour the resulting flavoured spirit into the frozen mixture combination and then fill the melon shells with the ice.

Garnish with the sprigs of mint.

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