Granita days

lemon granita 1

I think I predicted that this would be the summer I ate granita. It is. Hot days here interrupted and tempered by a glass of fruit granita at about 5 o clock. A shot of a slightly slushy, icy, crystalline mass that’s somewhere between a drink, a sorbet and a water ice, with just a hint – a nostalgic one – of popsicle. Refreshing and clean, the icy crystals infused with fruit dissolve on your tongue and leave the roof of your mouth wide, like a vast, icy cavern.

At this point I must hand most of the credit to my brother Benjamin. After the almond granita we made together on the first day, Ben picked up the granita gauntlet and ran, producing a veritable rainbow of icy pleasure. Each day a new flavour. First lemon granita, the picture at the top, sharp, sweet and lip puckeringly good. Then, orange granita, served over Campari at sunset. Next, Wednesday I think, dark icy shards of coffee granita. Finally, for two days in a row and maybe our favourite, sweet, rosy-pink watermelon granita.

There is nothing clever or complicated about granita, you just freeze the subject – some fruit juice, pulp, coffee or almond milk – which may or may not be diluted with some water and sweetened with a little sugar. Once it starts to form crystals, you agitate it with a fork and tuck it back in the freezer. You repeat this process several times, until you have an icy, slushy, crystalline mess to be served in a glass with a spoon.

Granita is not an exact science. The amount of water and sugar required depends on the season, the sweetness and water content of the fruit. Lemon granita for example, needs a good dose of both water and sugar or it is a little too lip puckering. Orange granita on the other hand, needs less additional sweetness and maybe the juice of a lemon to sharpen things up. Watermelon granita needs very little extra sugar or water possessing plenty of both. Coffee granita, well that very much depends on you. I’m not a sweet coffee person so my coffee granita follows suit.

lemon granita serving

lemon granita

  • 8 large, juicy lemons
  • 500ml water
  • 250g fine sugar

In a small pan over a low flame dissolve the sugar in 250ml of water. Once the sugar has disolved, set it aside to cool.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons.

In a jug mix the lemon juice with the – now cool – sugar syrup and add the water.

Pour the liquid into a shallow dish and tuck it in the freezer.

After about an hour, once it starts to form crystals, agitate it with a fork and then tuck it back in the freezer. Repeat this process several times, until you have an icy, slushy, crystalline mess to be served in a glass with a spoon.

I think this would be good served over a shot of vodka or lemoncello.

orange grania serving

Orange granita

Now orange, as we know, is much sweeter than lemon, so you need very little sugar and some lemon juice to give the granita edge.

Experimentation is the key. We liked about 100g of sugar for 12 oranges.

  • juice of 1o oranges
  • juice of  2 lemons
  • 100ml water (you may need extra)
  • 100g sugar

In a small pan over a low flame dissolve the sugar in 100ml of water. Once the sugar has dissolved, set aside to cool.

Squeeze and then strain the juice from the oranges and lemons.

In a jug mix the juice with the now cool sugar syrup. You may need to add a little extra water to get the dilution and sweetness you like.

Pour the liquid into a shallow dish and tuck it into the freezer.

After about an hour – once it starts to form crystals – you agitate the granita with a fork and then tuck it back in the freezer. Repeat this process several times, until you have an icy, slushy, crystalline mess to be served in a glass with a spoon.

Orange granita over bitter-sweet Campari is very good.

P1040156

Coffee granita

If the truth be told Ben can’t actually remember how much sugar he added. He claims not to like the constraints of a scale. I think it was about 100g. Anyway, as always the golden rule of granita is: if the liquid tastes good to you, so will the icy result.

  • 500 ml very strong espresso coffee
  • 100ml water
  • 100g fine sugar (you may need a little more depending on your taste)

In a small pan over a low flame dissolve the sugar in 100ml of water. Once the sugar has dissolved, set it aside to cool.

Make the coffee and allow it to cool

Mix the coffee with the now cool sugar syrup. You may need to add a little extra water to get the dilution and sweetness you like.

Pour the liquid into a shallow dish and tuck it into the freezer.

After about an hour, Once it starts to form crystals, you agitate it with a fork and tuck it back in the freezer. You repeat this process several times, until you have an icy, slushy, crystalline mess to be served in a glass with a spoon.

P1040382

Watermelon granita

We didn’t strain our juice before freezing as we liked the fleshy, cellulose texture. You might like to.

  • 1kg of deseeded, peeled and cubed watermelon
  • 100ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • juice of a lime

Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water over high heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Let syrup cool.

Put the watermelon and the lime juice in a heavy-duty blender and process until smooth. Add the simple syrup and pulse until combined.

Pour the liquid into a shallow dish and put it in the freezer.

After about an hour, once it starts to form crystals, agitate it with a fork and tuck it back in the freezer. Repeat this process several times, until you have an icy, slushy, crystalline mess to be served in a glass with a spoon.

A splash of vodka could be good.

P1040446

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Granita days

  1. Woah! Can’t believe you just typed out ALL THOSE granita recipes for us, you are such a peach! I have been jealous of your granitas long enough. I’m making them on Saturday.

  2. Ah, thank you!
    I am refreshed just looking at your photographs–
    such gorgeous summer granitas—
    you’ve inspired me to try this with some peaches in the house.

  3. I am a complete granita fanatic, and it turns out, they are very popular with diners after large heavy dinners. I’ve made several flavors, and would like to recommend cranberry, clementine and grapefruit (with a little vermouth). Also, I was once served tomato granita as a palette cleanser between courses and will never forget it. Absolutely incredible! I asked for the recipe and they said fresh tomato juice, salt and a little rice vinegar.

  4. jenniedurant

    Super fantastic recipes. I tried the lemon granita and the ratios were all perfect. I added some lemon rind to the hot water and sugar syrup to make it more bitter, then strained it when cool. The coffee granita was perfect as well–my Sicilian boyfriend was very impressed. I think whipped cream would be fantastic…I’m hunting it down tonight! Thanks for taking so much time to post here. I linked to you on my blog too.

  5. Pingback: Wilting in Rome. « rachel eats

    • Mmmm… watermelon granita sounds perfect for those wilting in London too! I’ll be making it this weekend and adding a cheeky slug of vodka. I think my Breakfast Club diners would love it too.
      x

  6. Lisa

    Today: Granita. Mmm. And your Smoked Fish Quiche. Happy days.

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