For once I’m actually on top of things, and in time for all your 4th of July celebrations, I wanted to share my recipe for my favorite cold treat.
A granita is a little bit like a shaved ice, but the ice is flaky instead of smoothly ground. It gets its texture from the way we disrupt the forming of crystals as it’s freezing. It’s a million times easier than ice cream, more gourmet than a popsicle, and can be ready to eat in as few as three hours depending on your freezer and the dish you use.
Basic Granita Recipe
5 C juice
1/2 C sugar
1 C water
flavorings of choice
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and allow to melt together. If you are using herbs or whole spices to flavor your granita, add them to the sugar syrup and let steep for ten minutes with the heat on low.
Strain the sugar syrup and add to the juice in a large shallow dish. A casserole dish works well, but if you can fit a jelly roll pan in your freezer your granita will be done in a wink. Allow to freeze until partially set, and then rake the mixture with a fork to break up the ice crystals into flakes. Return to the freezer and repeat every hour or so until the mixture is thoroughly frozen.
To make my Strawberry Balsamic version, I used 5 Cups of strawberry balsamic juice. In a saucepan I added 1 lb of frozen strawberries, 5 C of water, 1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 C of sugar. Add more sugar if necessary to make the juice sweet enough to taste. Strain out the soggy strawberries, and add to the sugar syrup.
This is a really great recipe to experiment with using whatever fruits and herbs are in season. My other favorite version is a lemon rosemary granita. That one is just perfection on the hottest day of the year. I don’t know that I’ve ever had anything so refreshing.