A granita is a semi frozen dessert with origins in Sicily (Italy). It is tasty, simple & very easy to make. Best of all, you don’t need an ice cream maker or any other fancy gadget – just a freezer with some room ☺.
Now the flavor combinations & possibilities here are truly endless. So I’m going to make my personal favorite flavor combo – Coconut Lychee Granita, with just a hint of cardamom. It’s super simple, cool & absolutely refreshing any time of the day!
Lychees are a popular tropical fruit with origins in China but eaten throughout Southeast Asia. I love lychees, they have a lovely delicate texture & a subtle floral flavor. Lychees are a wonderful source of Vitamin C. Fresh lychees are available at Indian & Asian grocery stores but they are seasonal. The best is to actually use canned lychees - which are pitted, ready to use & available all year round. They are also a wonderful time saver.
COCONUT LYCHEE GRANITA
1 can coconut milk (about 10-12 ozs)
1 can pitted lychees (about 13-15 ozs), drained & rinsed well – roughly chopped
½ cup sugar, to taste
¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
juice of ½ lime
zest of ½ lime
mint leaves for garnish
8-9” square baking dish, place in the freezer to chill
In a small saucepan on medium low heat, combine the sugar with ½ cup of water to make a simple syrup. Stir well to dissolve & let it come to a gentle boil. Then remove from the heat & allow to cool. Set aside until needed.
Then using your blender, add the well drained lychees along with the coconut milk & blitz until smooth. Then add the ground cardamom powder, lime juice, lime zest & cooled simple syrup. Blend until well combined & completely smooth.
Now pour the entire mixture into the chilled baking dish & freeze for at least 1 hour. Then remove the granita from the freezer & using a fork, scrape the frozen granita from the sides towards the center -- into a slushy mound of frozen ice crystals. Then smooth this out & return to the freezer. Repeat this every hour for 2 more times. The granita will be ready after 4 hours, serve it in pretty decorative glasses or bowls with a few mint leaves for garnish.
Basically any fruit will work for this recipe such as watermelon, guava, blood orange, kiwi, pomegranate, peach, honeydew, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, lemon/citrus, custard apple, strawberry or any berry…
Or you can make a granita using various flavored teas as well such as peach ginger, hibiscus, vanilla almond, rose tea, jasmine, orange blossom…
You could also add nuts to the granita for texture if you prefer, just grind them coarsely. Other ideas include various ground sweet spices, pureed dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, coconut…..
You could also add alcohol such as a little rum or flavored liqueurs (Kahlua, Frangelico, Amaretto, Framboise, Grand Marnier…).