It’s hot, and everyone has icy-cold desserts on the brain. Ice cream and sorbet articles and recipes and posts are everywhere, plus this year popsicles are popular, too. (Check out these tempting Basil Blueberry Martini Pops.)
But let me be a salmon swimming against the tide for a sec and introduce another thought. An easy-to-make, perfect-for-summer thought.
Granita is crunchy, cold, refreshing, frozen delicousness. It’s snow cones for adults. It’s New York City street ices—or Roman ones if you sway that way—plus homemade happy. And perhaps best of all, there’s no ice cream maker required.
(In fact, working on my most recent book, The Clean Plates Cookbook, I discovered that even ice cream and sorbet can turn out pretty good sans ice cream maker, using the granita freeze-and-scrape-with-a-fork method. But that’s a story for another day.)
Granita always makes me think of Nicole Plue, a super-star pastry chef I was lucky enough to work with for a time. For a particular occasion, she created an amazing dessert of Tahitian vanilla panna cotta topped with fruit punch granita. Talking about her inspiration, she said she liked to play with juxtaposition of tastes, textures, and temperatures—hence the iciness of granita combined with the creaminess of panna cotta. Quite brilliant, really—both the combination and the thinking—and a lesson that I’ve drawn upon more than once.
But I digress.
Make some granita. Combine it with something creamy a la Nicole—or not. Either way, it’s icy, easy, and an ideal summer treat.
Here’s my recipe for Mexican Chocolate Granita (pictured in this post).
Or try Lemon or Coffee Granita from Food Lover’s Odyssey (the author, my friend Kathy Ayer, also had the good fortune to work with Nicole Plue).
Or Strawberry Granita from epicurious.com.