Some­thing sparkly for a re­fresh­ing aper­i­tif, dessert

El­lie Krieger

The Daily Herald - - FOOD -

Sparkling wine is my aper­i­tif of choice. It’s light and re­fresh­ing, it pairs well with just about any starter, and those bub­bles al­ways put me in a good mood. Oc­ca­sion­ally, I will spring for a glass of French cham­pagne, but I find Ital­ian prosecco, Span­ish cava or an Amer­i­can sparkling wine does the trick just as well for, typ­i­cally, a much lower price, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to en­joy that ef­fer­ves­cence in an ev­ery­day way.

It turns out sparkling wine also makes for a won­der­ful end to a meal, as a star in­gre­di­ent in this easy, el­e­gant, four-in­gre­di­ent dessert. First you sweeten prosecco (or what­ever sparkling wine you pre­fer) with a lit­tle su­gar — just enough so it is lightly sweet­ened but not at all syrupy. Su­perfine su­gar is pre­ferred be­cause it dis­solves quickly and eas­ily, but if you don’t have any on hand you can make your own by putting reg­u­lar gran­u­lated su­gar in the food pro­ces­sor to grind it more finely.

Then add balls of sweet, juicy hon­ey­dew melon, and let the mix­ture steep in the re­frig­er­a­tor for at least two hours, so the fla­vors can meld and ev­ery­thing is well chilled. Spoon into cock­tail glasses, shower with a fra­grant, flo­ral con­fetti of basil, and you have a grown-up dessert that is fresh, fun and glam­orous.

It is one that is well suited to cap off a spe­cialoc­ca­sion meal but, like those tiny bub­bles them­selves, can make a reg­u­lar day feel like a cel­e­bra­tion.

Prosecco-spiked melon with basil

Note: If you can’t find su­perfine su­gar, give your gran­u­lated su­gar a good turn in the food pro­ces­sor. The melon balls need to mac­er­ate in the re­frig­er­a­tor, cov­ered, for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. 1 cup prosecco (not ex­tra-dry) 3 ta­ble­spoons su­perfine su­gar (may sub­sti­tute gran­u­lated su­gar; see note) 4 cups (1 pound 7 ounces) hon­ey­dew melon balls, from one 4-to-41/2pound melon ¼ cup packed fresh basil

leaves, for gar­nish Pour the prosecco into a large bowl. Add the su­gar and stir gen­tly un­til it is dis­solved. Add the melon balls and stir to coat evenly. Cover tightly and re­frig­er­ate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Just be­fore serv­ing, stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly and cut them cross­wise into thin rib­bons (chif­fon­ade).

To serve, di­vide the melon balls and their liq­uid among 4 cock­tail (mar­tini) or dessert glasses;

PHOTO BY DEB LIND­SEY FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST Prosecco-spiked melon with basil makes a won­der­ful end to a meal.

gar­nish each with about 1 ta­ble­spoon of the basil rib­bons.

Makes 4 serv­ings. Per serv­ing: 140 calo­ries, 0 g pro­tein, 24

g car­bo­hy­drates, 0 g fat, 0 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 30 mg sodium, 1 g di­etary fiber, 22 g su­gar

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