Beat the Heat, Sicilian Style: 8 Granita Recipes

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Forget ice cream. To cool down this summer, you’ll be making granitas. The ultimate solution for a cold, homemade sweet that doesn’t require special kitchen equipment, granitas are said to have originated in Sicily. The Atlantic says the slushy, icy granita dates back to Medieval Sicilian times and consistency fluctuates depending on the maker and where you order one. Coffee flavors are common in the morning, and other varieties are available throughout the day. Lemon can be purchased year-round, while seasonal fruit will dictate many of your other options.

1. Meyer Lemon Mint Granita

Starting things off is the granita you can get at any time of the year: lemon. Savory Simple’s Jennifer Farley has added another element to freshen up your long, hot, summer days: mint. This recipe makes about two cups’ worth of granitas.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Meyer lemons
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 10 mint leaves

Directions: Using a vegetable peeler, zest long strips from two of the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons through a fine mesh strainer. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Take the pot off the heat and add the zest and mint. Allow the flavors to steep for 30 minutes while the mixture cools. Strain the zest and mint from the sugar syrup and stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the mixture into a brownie pan or flat-bottomed glass dish. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture very thoroughly with a fork and allow it to freeze for another 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3-4 hours. Make sure to mix the granita well every time, scraping down the sides. The idea is to prevent ice crystals from forming so that you wind up with a consistency similar to sorbet. If the mixture isn’t stirred thoroughly, you might wind up with small blocks of ice, which aren’t nearly as fun to eat. Three hours will give you a good granita, while 4 hours will guarantee the consistency if you’re not planning to serve it immediately.

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