“This is one of the best things you’ve ever made,” is how David describes this granita. I’m not much of a sweets or desserts person, but I really like this one, too, and it kind of takes a lot for an icy cold dessert to stand out from the crowd in the middle of winter. Although admittedly, this winter hasn’t been that challenging weather-wise in Boston. Maybe a fluffy bowl of this lemon-scented, gently ginger-spiced granita will help soothe anyone else pining for snow, too.
Part of the reason David likes it so much, I think, is because I came up with this recipe late one night and it just came together with ease. As with my walnut & sage risotto, a recent recipe contest at the Food52 website was the impetus for creating this dessert. On the heels of the contest announcement came a deluge of projects at school and work, so I didn’t actually get the final recipe and photos together in time to submit, but that doesn’t make it any less of a winner.
Even though the challenge was to create a recipe highlighting winter’s citrus fruits, this can easily be translated into a summer dessert. And, there’s a lot of different directions one can take this. Next time, I’ll probably be tempted to muddle some blueberries and add it to the pan before freezing. Other fruits that come into season, like strawberries, can also be pureed in a food processor and incorporated, too. The amount of ginger or sugar can easily be pared down to let other flavors come through. Using a fork to pull away newly-formed ice crystals from the sides of the pan is quite easy, and after the first or second 45-spell in the freezer, it’s apparent how the final dish is coming together (meaning you don’t have to wait all that long to see that you’re doing it right).
Lemon Ginger Granita
3-inch piece of ginger
2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about two lemons)
1) Peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Slice the ginger into thin rounds, about 1/8-inch thick.
2) Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the ginger slices and simmer at a gentle boil for 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow to steep for 20 more minutes.
3) Juice the lemons. Combine the ginger-water and lemon juice in a metal pan, roughly 9×13-inches (make sure the liquid isn’t more than about 1 inch deep). Transfer the metal pan to the freezer and keep it on a level shelf. Freeze for an hour.
4) Using a fork, scrape the ice crystals from the sides of the tray and run the fork through liquid to disrupt the formation of solid ice. Return the pan to the freezer and repeat the process of freezing and scraping the ice crystals around the sides of the pan every 45 minutes. This takes about 3 hours. Serve immediately, or store, covered with plastic wrap in a glass bowl in the freezer.