22 February 2011

Grapefruit Granita

Granita is something I've always wanted to learn to make.  I always see it on the summertime episodes of Food Network shows - a frozen shaved ice dessert similar to Italian ice or sorbet.  What makes granita unique is the process used to make it.  It isn't labor intensive or complicated, but it requires a little bit of babysitting.  The basic process is to freeze a flavorful liquid (whatever you are using to make your granita) in a shallow dish and scrape it with a fork every half hour.  This scraping creates fine ice crystals in the final dish.  So its like eating grapefruit flavored snow.

Making a granita with a little bit of alcohol makes it more forgiving to the timeline.  It isn't as important to scrape it every half hour.  I used vodka here, but am excited to try it again with some sparkling wine (a not to an interesting cocktail I saw on a restaurant menu that I also can't wait to try out!).  

Granitas can also be made with a zillion different kinds of liquids.  I've seen a lot of cranberry granita, which I imagine would have a similar zesty quality to this one.  I've seen some interesting coffee granitas before.  One of the most interesting granita recipe I've seen was made with milk, then mixed with espresso later... I'm really looking forward to trying this one out now that I have the process down.

I have a produce drawer full of grapefruits that I've been dying to make into something exciting.  And the forecasted high dropped from 72 yesterday to a whopping 38 today.  Enter the summery granita!  Now I can have some of this and pretend its sunny and warm out again.

Grapefruit Granita
serves 3-4
4 - 6 T simple syrup*
zest from 1 grapefruit
pinch salt
2 c grapefruit fresh squeezed juice
1/4 c vodka (I used grapefruit vodka here, but use whatever you have on hand)

Stir together all ingredients.  Pour into a shallow baking dish.  Place baking dish in freezer.  Scrape with a fork every half hour and return to the freezer.  The first few times you scrape it, it'll seem really silly, as the mixture isn't really frozen yet, but it helps to work air into the liquid and make it fluffier.  Repeat this process until the liquid is completely frozen and you have a dish full of grapefruit snow (about 6 hours).  Enjoy!

* PLEASE don't buy simple syrup (they sell it in the grocery store).  It is the easiest thing in the world to make.  Just boil together equal parts water and sugar until all the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool to room temperature, and store in the refrigerator.

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