I know what you’re thinking, frozen desserts in the middle of winter?? YES! Having just finished up a detox at the Hippocrates Health Institute, I’m feeling pretty good, but after days of loading up on vegetables and wheatgrass, I’ve been craving a treat. This is where granita comes in! It’s light, easy, and packed with flavor. It’s basically like living out your childhood snow cone fantasies with a boozy twist.
This semi-frozen dessert has deep Sicilian roots. For Sicilians, it’s more than just a refreshing snack, it’s a ritual that has evolved over time. They even eat it for breakfast! The perfect granita is somewhere in between gelato and sorbet with shaved icy flakes instead of a smooth-churned consistency like sorbet. Sicilian-style granita is traditionally made with sugar, water, and fruit. It slowly freezes while being scraped throughout the process to give you a rustic snow cone look. Since I don’t always have the time to slowly stir my granita 😂, I do it the easy way: simmer, cool, blend, and freeze.
Blushing Pear Granita
For anyone in a fruity mood, my Blushing Pear Granita recipe hits the spot with a splash of white wine, lemon juice, ripe pears, and a sprig of mint to garnish. This granita is all sorts of refreshing on your palate!
- 1⅔ cups white Zinfandel wine
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 pounds (4 large) very ripe pears, such as Bartlett, cored, peeled, and cut into ½-inch chunks
- In a small, nonreactive saucepan combine the wine, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and cook briskly for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the pears until smooth. In a storage container with a tight fitting lid, thoroughly stir together the pear puree and the cooled wine mixture. Cover an freeze until solid, preferably overnight.
- Using a large spoon, scrape the granita, as much as you’d like to serve, and scoop into bowls. Serve immediately. You can keep the leftover granita frozen until ready to eat.
For my coffee lovers out there, my Espresso-Frangelico Granita recipe will give you that nutty, rich punch you’re craving with a hint of lemon for freshness. Frangelico is a hazelnut-flavored liqueur made in Italy. I absolutely love Frangelico for cocktails or paired with espresso in desserts like this one.
- 1¼ cups freshly ground espresso coffee
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup Frangelico (Italian hazelnut liqueur)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- In an electric drip coffeemaker (or equipment of your choice), brew the coffee with the 6 cups water. There should be about 5½ cups strong, dark coffee. Stir the sugar, Frangelico and lemon juice into the coffee and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a covered container and freeze until solid (due to the alcohol in the Frangelico, this may take up to 12 hours.
- To serve, scrape the granita with a large metal spoon. Scrape as much as you’d like to serve, then save the rest until ready to use. Serve immediately.
Don’t be intimated by the idea of making your own granita! It’s just about as easy as making homemade popsicles in the summer. Once you get the technique down, you could be making granitas all year round!
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I wanted to invite you all to a Valentine’s Day Virtual Cooking Party hosted by Nicole Miller and me on February 9, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Register here and you’ll receive the recipes and event Zoom link in advance. When you register, you’ll automatically be entered into a raffle to win a prize based on your ticket level purchase. All of the proceeds will benefit the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. I hope to see you all there!