You could finish a supper of beans and burgers on a high note with this dessert, or bring it in to be the finale of a fancy dinner party.
While sorbets are smooth and slick, granitas are rugged, with shaggy ice crystals and good crunch. What takes this granita out of the ordinary are the nubs of candied pineapple and spikes of black pepper. Serve it in martini glasses topped with pistachio nuts or a sprinkle of fresh rosemary.
Cook to Cook: If working a day ahead, let the granita freeze solid. About 4 hours before serving, partially defrost, stir and then refreeze. Stir after 40 minutes, then again after another 40 minutes. Stir a third time shortly before serving. It should be broken into shaggy crystals.
- 1-1/2 pounds (4 to 5) firm-ripe Comice, Anjou, or Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
- 3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- Shredded rind of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup candied pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
- 2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons crushed pistachio nuts or small rosemary sprigs, or flowers of fresh rosemary
- In a food processor, blend together the pears, lemon juice, rind, pineapple, black pepper, sugar and water. Run the machine a few seconds then taste the mix for tart-sweet contrast. The flavors should be slightly exaggerated because cold will mute them. Adjust the lemon juice and sugar accordingly.
- Continue processing until the pineapple chunks are reduced to small bits. You don’t want a smooth purée.
- Pour the pear mixture into an 8- to 10-cup freezer container and freeze. After 2 hours, stir the granita with a fork, breaking up the frozen outer rim and blending it into the slushy center. Repeat this again after about an hour, and again another hour later. You want the granita to have shaggy crystals (not at all soupy) that you can scoop up for serving.
- To serve, scoop the granita into tall glasses. Top with spoonfuls of the crushed pistachios. If using rosemary flowers, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon over each portion. Serve immediately.