Granitas are an Italian treat that exist in the neighborhood of a snow cone and sorbet. Originally from Sicily they are found throughout Italy and beyond. They make for a sophisticated and light dessert, heat wave refresher, or a fun midcourse palate cleanser. The flaky ice crystals also make for a fun textural experience.
Granitas can be made from numerous bases and fruits. Here we are using stone fruit, our Honey Wine Vinegar for acid, and raw honey for sweetness.
As an adult dessert we particularly like to serve this granita with a small frozen (i.e. syrupy) gin carafe at the dinner table to allow guests to pour on a little gin into their granita. Barr Hill’s gin is as our favorite for this purpose—not the least because they continue our theme of honey in this recipe.
Peach and Honey Granita
American Vinegar Works
¼ cup of honey
¼ cup Honey Wine Vinegar
3lbs of peaches
Pinch of fleur de sel
Thinly sliced mint for garnish
Optional: chilled gin
Peel and pit the peaches. Blend peaches, honey, Honey Wine Vinegar, and salt in a blender or food processor. The result will be very liquidy/watery. That is normal. The flavor is strongly guided by how good your fruit it so you may need to adjust sweetness or acid a bit. That said, this is not a double chocolate cake with whipped cream type of dessert and plays more in the fresh and subtle space (until you add the herbal gin…)
Pour liquid into a freezer safe shallow pan—think a casserole, Pyrex or baking pan. You are looking for a puree depth of about ½” to 1”.
Put the pan into your freezer and let it sit undisturbed for about 40 minutes. The liquid should have started to freeze at this point. You want to open the freeze and drag a fork over the ice formation to begin to break it up into small iced flakes. Think Japanese Zen garden sand raking—not New England sidewalk ice breaking.
Put the tray back in the freezer and repeat the steps above every 30 minutes for the next 4 hours or so. As you progress you will see the granita take on it flaky ice texture and ultimately become a “grainy” ice crystal frozen but loose consistency.
You’re ready to serve or keep it in the freezer (covered) until dessert. Serve it with some thinly sliced fresh mint if you have some around. Gin optional but pretty fun, especially if you enjoy the herbal notes.
Words of the day:
Tine: those sharp points on your fork that you drag over the liquid to create your granita texture
Granita: comes from the Latin granum, meaning grain. Helpful when trying to figure out the right texture