Before fancypants ice cream and small-batch gelato, there was the pure and simple pleasure of shave ice: a block of frozen water transformed into an impossibly snowy soft, luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth powder that's taken on different forms all over the world.
From Filipino style halo-halo made with squishy palm seeds and Korean patbingsu studded with chewy mochi to super-fine Hawaiian-style shave ice doused in tropical fruit syrups, we love the timeless frozen dessert.
So, for this Fourth of July, we came up with a simple and beautiful all-American shave ice (see the recipe) that's a little red (strawberries), white (banana and coconut milk) and blue (blueberries).
Our concoction looks extravagant piled up in a tall glass, but it's easier than pie: Freeze large blocks of ice ahead of time that fit your machine. You can use cubes, but it's actually easier on the blade and a smoother shave if you work with one large piece.
Make your patriotic fruit mixes the day before so they can get nice and cold—that way they won't melt the piles of gorgeous snowflakes too quickly. Simmer strawberries with a little sugar, just until they go soft and release their juices, then whir bananas with coconut milk for a floral, tropical note—no need for sugar if the fruit is nice and ripe.
As for those blueberries, when they're macerated with cassis, the traditional French liqueur made from black-currants, they get extra sweet, blue and boozy.
If you've forgotten how good it feels to spoon up a snow cone, it's time to order one of those vintage-style shave ice machines you always wanted as a kid and get cranking.
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