While my Cuisinart ice cream maker is my most cherished kitchen gadget, and is still attached to me by an umbilical cord, I do realize that not everyone has an ice cream maker, so wanted to offer up an icy dessert that can be made with only a freezer, a container, and a fork. I also wanted to make a dessert that's not so rich and calorie laden (my eating has been sinful lately).
Enter the granita -- an Italian semi-frozen dessert that's refreshing, extremely light, and perfect for hot days when ingesting food seems like torture. Granita is akin to a snow cone, shaved ice, or water ice (it's a Philly thing), and is as simple to make as throwing a flavored sugary liquid in the freezer and periodically scraping the frozen edges to the center until you have fine grained icy crystals. After an hour in the freezer the edges start to freeze, then you scrape the frozen edges to the center, breaking apart large frozen bits.
Keep checking in on the mixture every 30 minutes or so, scraping the edges to the center.
At about the three or four hour mark, you have granita!
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
makes about 1 quart
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
2 limes, zest of
1 cup mint leaves, lightly packed
1/2 cup lime juice (about 6 limes)
3 tablespoons rum
- In a small sauce pan, add water, sugar, and zest of 2 limes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat. Reserving 5 of the mint leaves, add the remaining mint to the saucepan, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Strain the cooled mixture into a container you will be freezing the granita in, pressing the mint leaves firmly to extract flavor, then discard mint leaves.
- Finely chop the reserved 5 mint leaves and add to the mixture along with the rum and lime juice.
- Place container in freezer. After an hour in the freezer, scrape the frozen edges with a fork to the center of the container, breaking the large frozen chunks into smaller pieces. Repeat scraping of frozen edges to the center every 30 minutes until fine crystals have formed.