Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet

Have you ever had dragon fruit? It really is a funny looking thing–the size of a small mango, bright red and green tips on the outside, and either a bright beet-red or perfectly white flesh inside, speckled with hundreds of black seeds. If anything, its quite a pretty fruit, and not one I come across very often. So to indulge in my ongoing addiction for buying exotic produce, today, we have a Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet.

I had no experience with dragon fruit until now, so I was kind of at a loss for what to do with it. I wasn’t having a whole lot of luck finding ideas either. Most of the written material out there is either how people loved dragon fruit or were very disappointed in its somewhat neutral flavor (and for what its worth, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow me away–think like a more neutral tasting kiwi). I did however, really take to this beautifully presented sorbet and decided I would try to do something along the same vein.

The only thing is, I have a so-so relationship with sorbets, and its not for any great reason really. Honestly, its more of a type-A kind of thing: I hate adding water to whatever I’m cooking. I mean where’s the flavor in water, right? Its like volunteering to water something down (does that even count as a pun?). I avoid it as best I can, and that’s a tricky maneuver to pull off in a sorbet…and so I learned the difference between a sorbet and a sherbet: milk! Problem solved.

I didn’t want to make just another ice cream, and I also happened to have some coconut milk that I wanted to use up. For some reason, after a tasting scoop of dragon fruit, coconut milk just seemed like a natural pairing, so I chose to enrich the sherbet with that instead of dairy milk/cream, also whipping it (just like whipped cream) to try to give the final product some fluffiness (which didn’t go quite as far as I would have liked. Ah well, lesson learned).

I really enjoyed the result–the sherbet still has the attractive, creamy appearance of dragon fruit (serving it in the original fruit shell certainly helps ;-) ) and the flavor is strangely a coconutty, tropical kind of bubble gum taste. Very tasty and a change from the norm. Not sure I could say its worth the premium you’ll pay to buy dragon fruit, but these are the pains I endure for you, loyal reader: I eat dessert. Its ok, you’ll thank me later. This is also my entry for A Southern Grace’s Beat the Heat, an event that made me realize I seem to use heat for just about everything I make, lol.

  • 2 dragon fruit
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • juice of 1/2 lime

First thing’s first: get familiar with your dragon fruit (they ought to feel firm but they should give a little when you gently squeeze them, sort of like a mango or an avocado). Cleanly cut these in half and get a good look at it. Then, since we’re going to use the shells for serving later, take care when scooping out the flesh not to puncture/damage the shell. Simply with a spoon, you should be able to scrape everything out into your food processor.

Next, shape the shells to look normal if you squeezed them too hard and set them aside in the freezer (they’ll firm up and keep their shape better).

Along with the fruit flesh, squeeze in the lime juice, all but a tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 of the coconut milk into the food processor. Give this a whirl to puree it nicely (don’t worry about the seeds–they’re fine to eat and I think they make it look a little more interesting).

Following the directions for your ice cream maker, transfer this mixture into it and churn for about 25-30 minutes (rather than the usual 20), after which, you should set it aside in a bowl in the freezer.

Finally, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining coconut cream and tablespoon of sugar for a few minutes. I was hoping to see firm peaks just like I would when making normal whipped cream, but it just didn’t ever achieve the same body. While this wasn’t essential, I was hoping to use this so I could introduce air and fluffiness into the sherbet so as to more mimic the texture of ice cream (rather than the icy texture you usually get via a sorbet). Next time, I might try to use heavy cream for this step instead.

Whatever you use, get the churned dragon fruit mixture out of the freezer and fold your whipped (coconut) cream into it, work it only as much as is necessary. Set this back in the freezer for an hour or two to let it firm up.

Finally, the plating. Now that the sherbet is a bit more formed (but not totally frozen), you can put it into the shells. I thought I could use a pastry bag and pipe it into the shells with some fancy schmancy pattern. It didn’t really have a consistency conducive to this, so either I don’t know what I’m doing (very possible), or you should save yourself the trouble and just use a spoon.

However you get it into the shells, set it back in the freezer for a few hours to totally firm up. You’ll probably need to give it 5 minutes on the counter-top so it can thaw a little bit before you can dig in, but after that, enjoy!

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36 Responses to “Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet”

  1. Y Says:

    Despite the spectacular look of dragon fruit, I’ve never been too much of a fan, so have never cooked with it, let alone make sorbet. I do love coconut sorbet however, and love how you’ve presented this icy treat :)

  2. Deeba Says:

    How exotic Mike…you are really pushing the limits. I love pretty fruits & the name is as wonderful as the fruit…lovely flavours in your sorbet!

  3. Dragon Says:

    How could I possible resist this sorbet. :)

  4. Sarah Says:

    I agree, I think I use heat for almost everything I make as well. Since you say you have never had experience with this friut, I commend you for those wonderful looking homemade bowls! And I’m sooo jealous of your ice cream maker! :)

  5. Ivy Says:

    New things to see and learn. I don’t think I’ll ever come across to this fruit. Your presentation looks gorgeous. Same with me as well. I bake even if its 40 degrees C. Best Greek summer food require baking.

  6. Joanne at frutto della passione Says:

    Hey, these are popping up all over! This is the third dragon fruit I’ve come across!! I have to admit I am curious. I’ll keep my eyes open!

  7. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Love it Mike! You know that dragon fruit is really special to us? Seeing your opening picture made us jump up, up and away! What a great summer dish, so unique and refreshing. Your coconut milk addition really adds to the tropical integrity and appeal of this awesome fruit. Susan at SGCC made a dragon fruit dessert too and we’re just going crazy right now seeing everyone indulge in it!

    We’ve got six dragon fruit plants now, two different varieties. Tomorrow we’re going to search for two more unique varieties to grow. If you wanna indulge in some more unique dragon fruits, let us know and when ours fruit, we’ll send you some very UNIQUE ones!

  8. Judy Says:

    Oh Mike that looks so good! Very clever use of the dragon fruit!!!

  9. Lo Says:

    This is fantastic! I love the idea of using coconut milk for the sorbet… I’ll bet the flavors were quite complementary.

    I’ve only had dragon fruit in its dried form — which was pleasantly flavorful and a bit sour. I know it’s not a local delicacy here in the North, but I might just keep my eyes open for a dragon fruit of my own.

  10. grace Says:

    i’ve never seen or tasted dragon fruit. i really need to get out more.
    anyway, awesome treat, awesome presentation, thanks so much for humoring me and entering my little event. this is a quality contribution. :)

  11. Clumbsy Cookie Says:

    I’ve been seeing dragon fruit around but have not bought it yet. I love the clever way of serving it in the fruit!

  12. Madeline Says:

    WOW, great photos, great presentation, great recipe!

  13. Tartelette Says:

    Looks delicious! Dragon fruit reall benefits from being paired with a complementing flavor like lime, coconut, watermelon (not all at once of course)

  14. noble pig Says:

    See I have never seen this at the store…ever. It’s so exotic looking though. I’ve seen this around the net and am completely jealous that everyone but me seems to have access.
    I love the idea of serving it back in the shell too! Very nice!

  15. We Are Never Full Says:

    ok how pretty is that color combo?? I’ve never had dragon fruit, but now you’ve got me wanting to taste it for myself.

  16. Susan from Food Blogga Says:

    I had my first taste of a dragon fruit last summer, and it was quite memorable. Not as memorable as this lovely dessert though, I’m sure.

  17. Colloquial Cook Says:

    Very elegant! Love the look of that dessert!

  18. kittie Says:

    I’ve only tried dragonfruit once, and wasn’t at all impressed… maybe I’d prefer it like this? I’m sure I would!

    Seriously attractive piece of fruit tho – I love your presentation!

  19. Sandie Says:

    This is definitely a first! I’ve never heard of dragon fruit before, and whether or not it tastes good is irrelevant because your photos and description of this sorbet make it sound so appetizing (the fact that I love coconut doesn’t hurt either :-)

    Next time I head to the market, I will look for this fruit. I doubt our local grocery stocks it, but I will look. Kudos for trying something new & exotic, and for the record… your presentation of this sorbet is fantastic!

  20. pam Says:

    Beautiful presentation! Absolutely gorgeous!

  21. Vera Says:

    I’ve never tried this fruit. But your post and photos are convincing enough!

  22. heather Says:

    mmm this sounds delicious! i did not know that was the difference between sorbet and sherbert! i thought they were words for the same thing ;) this looks lovely and sounds really tasty :)

  23. Dana Says:

    I’ve seen dragonfruit everywhere lately! Maybe I should get in on the trend!

  24. Dee Says:

    Great dessert and presentation! I love dragonfruit. Usually as is, but for special dinners, in a chocolate fondue.

  25. Jan Says:

    What a fantastic idea Mike – They look delish!

    PS: You’ve been tagged for a Six Quirky Things meme!

  26. Kevin Says:

    I have never had dragon fruit but it looks really interesting and the sherbet looks good. Nice presentation in the fruits shell.

  27. linda Says:

    Never had dragon fruit before but I’ve seen it. Love that it turned out tasting like tropical bubble gum :)
    Love your presentation!

  28. Alejandra Says:

    This is so beautiful! I love this and want to try. I love weird ice creams (just did a beet ice cream). Gorgeous presentation…

  29. Cakespy Says:

    This is absolutely fantastic! Gorgeous and unexpected. I can’t wait to make this for a party–a showstopper for sure!

  30. Aparna Says:

    A dragon and a fruit?
    I’ve never seen this or heard of it till now! Very colourful and unusual.

  31. Graeme Says:

    Very clever. Great job getting it all back in so well, too.

  32. Jude Says:

    Didn’t expect the coconut milk there. Very nice. It’s ridiculous how much Whole Foods charges for this fruit. I’d rather go to my favorite local asian grocer.

  33. Maggie Says:

    I felt the same way about my first dragon fruit, it’s all about the looks. The coconut milk in this sounds great though and it looks fantastic!

  34. PattyB Says:

    Hi To all,

    I have about 20kgs of frozen dragon-fruit pulp and would like recipes for a preserving, such as a sauce or syrup.

    Thanks in anticipation, Patty

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