Makes 4 servings
Like gelato, the granita is one of Italy’s best contributions to summer dining. It’s believed the granita traces its origins back to the time of the Roman Empire – and the island of Sicily. There are now special machines for making granita, but you can do it by hand quite easily.
- 1 cup finely chopped fruit, including juice (try peaches, strawberries or any other ripe fresh fruit)
- 1 cup of white granulated refined sugar
- 4 cups of water
Use a blender or food processor to finely chop the fruit. Heat the sugar in two cups of water over medium heat for a few minutes – until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Allow to cool, then add the remaining water and the crushed fruit.
Freeze for about forty minutes, then remove. Use a large fork (or other heavy utensil) to thoroughly break up the semi-frozen mixture then return it to the freezer. As its name implies, a granita dessert should be “granulated” so you’ll need to keep mixing occasionally to keep the ice from freezing solid. Remove the bowl from the freezer, mix it quickly and return it to the freezer again about every twenty minutes for about two hours.
Don’t let the granita form into heavy lumps or a solid block. The texture should resemble grains or flakes. The mixing is the most important part of preparation! It ensures that the granita is granular.