My first exposure to granita was at a friend’s house, not on the streets of Italy or Spain. And ours was not the traditional coffee granita, but a fruit juice version—made from Meyer Lemons off their loaded, lovely tree.
While the name granita sounded like it could have Spanish or Italian roots, it wasn’t until I discovered this fun web resource that I got the real scoop—no pun intended—on this super-simple dessert.
To read more about what I have to say on the subject of granita, check out my essay here. Then make your own. Two recipes, adapted from The Perfect Scoop, will get you going. Then head to the produce—or, as I suggest, frozen foods—section of your favorite grocery store and let your imagination run wild.
This summer, everyone’s staying cool.
What you’ll need:
Liquid measuring cup
Strainer (I like this one, which has proven more versatile--and therefore more functional--than the 8-inch version)
Ceramic baking pan or large, flat plastic container (sides should be at least two inches high)
One 1 lb. bag frozen strawberries, defrosted
3 T sugar
1/2 cup water
A few drops freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Once strawberries have defrosted, slice them and toss them with the sugar in a large bowl until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Puree the strawberries and their juices, water, and lemon juice in the blender until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine strainer to remove any seeds.
Pour mixture into your flat shallow pan or container and set level in the freezer. After an hour, remove the container and use a fork to rake the frozen mixture from the sides of the container into the center. Break up any large chunks. Return the mixture to the freezer and begin checking every 30 minutes or so, raking the frozen bits to the center and breaking up the large chunks into smaller pieces until you have lovely, fine crystals of homemade granita. (Approximately 2-3 hours after the mixture first goes into the freezer.) If at any point the mixture gets too solid, simply leave it out on the counter until it softens enough to be raked back into crystals again.
I also like to stir several spoonfuls of this granita into a glass of Poland Spring sparkling lime spring water for a twist on the traditional raspberry lime rickey.