Granita is the crunchy cousin to sorbet, more rustic, and for me, more satisfying. The other thing is that making granita isn't cooking, it's freezing. That's it -- and any one can do it. No experience required.
So this is granita: imagine scoops of fruit or chocolate ice, maybe flecked with fresh ginger, the ice crystals are shaggy and a little crunchy in your mouth and then melt away leaving tastes so pure and intense you just want more and more. And since there's no fat -- and not much of anything else -- you can eat all you want.
How to Make Granitas:
The basic formula. No limits on the possible improvisation.
Fruit Granitas: Figure 1-1/2 pounds fruit (that includes tomatoes) to sugar syrup to taste. Where skins add flavor and color, as with apples, don't peel the fruit.
Sugar Syrup: you make sugar syrup by cooking equal amounts of sugar and water until the sugar's melted -- about 5 minutes -- do 1 cup each to start because it keeps in the fridge for months.
Next step -- add flavoring to taste: These could be grated ginger, orange zest, vanilla, chile, cinnamon, you get the idea. Over-season, since freezing mutes flavorings.
For Coffee and Chocolate Granitas: do strong espresso with cinnamon, sweetened to taste ... or make cocoa and chill.
Freezing and Serving: For lazy man's granita, you freeze it in a shallow container. Five minutes before serving, break up the ice and run it through the food processor so it's shaggy, and you are done.
Ideas for serving:
Pear granita with black pepper and vanilla served with sliced fresh pears
Chocolate-espresso granita (mix hot chocolate and espresso (ideally brewed with fresh-ground allspice) scooped into espresso or coffee cups with a bowl of soft whipped cream
Fresh mint and lemon granita (steep lots of mint in the sugar syrup, strain, then add lemon juice to taste). Serve inside scooped out and frozen lemons. Or top a cold melon soup with the granita.
Scoops of tart green apple granita topping bowls of hot butternut squash soup
From the September 18, 2010 show. © 2010, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
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