Granita is a traditional Italian dessert. It is a perfect for summer because it is icy and cool, with fresh flavors. The texture is closer to a snow cone than sorbet or gelato. It's also easy to make with no fancy equipment other than a blender or food processor.
- 1 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup castor sugar
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs cognac (optional)
- 1 pound strawberries
- If you do not have castor sugar, place 3/4 granulated (regular) sugar in your blender or food processor. Blend the sugar for 2 minutes.
- Wash, hull, and quarter the strawberries.
- In a bowl mix the hot water, sugar, lemon juice, and cognac. Continue to stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Place the the strawberries in the food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add the sugar syrup and blend until throughly mixed.
- Pour mixture into 13"x9" nonstick pan. This is traditionally a metal baking pan, but you may use glass or plastic. Cover with cling wrap and place in a freezer.
- Freeze until icy around sides, but not solid (about half an hour).
- Using a fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan. Return to the freezer. Repeat this step, stirring edges into center every 20 to 30 minutes, for about 1 1/2 hours.
- Using a fork, scrape granita into serving bowls.
- Garnish with mint leaves and a little whipped cream.
Note: Aside from adding an adult flavor to this dessert, the cognac helps to keep the granita from freezing solid. If you don't plan to serve the granita immediately, cover tightly and freeze. If the granita is too solid you can allow it to sit in the refrigerator for half an hour, until you can scrape it with a fork. You can also use a cheese grater to break up the block.
Granita looks spectacular when served in wine glasses. The light catches the ice crystals and it looks spettacolare!