What in-the-heck is granita? In the family that is frozen desserts, it would be the aunt or uncle of ice-cream & the cousin of sorbet.
In all of my 30 years I had never heard of granita until we randomly ordered a strawberry version at a restaurant (as an obligatory dessert) in Vancouver.
Granita originated in Italy, specifically Sicily, and has a coarser texture than it’s cousin, sorbet. I find it a simple & refreshing dessert (or snack) that pairs well with the summer heat. Also, it turns out that it’s very easy to make at home – you don’t need an ice-cream maker, like for most ice-creams or sorbets, you just need a freezer.
Watermelon Lemongrass Granita
Skill Level: Intermediate | Prep Time: 10 min | Steep Time: 1 hour | Assembly Time: 10 min | Total Time: 1 hour 20 min
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
3 lemongrass stalks, coarsely chopped
1 inch cube of ginger, thinly sliced
1 quart watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 tbsp. lime juice (~juice of two limes)
Combine the sugar, water, lemongrass and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then take off the heat & let steep for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, puree the watermelon.
Once the lemongrass mixture has steeped, strain the liquids into the watermelon puree. Be sure to use a spoon to press the excess liquids through the strainer. Add the lime juice & mix.
Pour the mixture into a large glass baking pan & place in the freezer. Stir with a fork several times during freezing to form the granita.