Lemon Granita

Hi friends! Once again, I’ve been a terribly neglectful blogger but I swear I have a good excuse. It’s been a whirlwind of a summer: not only did Nick and I recently move (only 10 miles up the road, but still!) but I also planned and hosted a bachelorette party and we were in two beautiful weddings for dear friends. We’ve been busy!

It’s also been uncomfortably hot here (it was the hottest August on record for Boston since they started keeping records in 1872!), so Nick and I have been keeping it pretty simple in the kitchen with pasta salads, wraps and tacos, dinner salads, grilling with family, etc. During our move we also ended up getting take out much more than we’re used to. Needless to say, I haven’t made anything rave-worthy this summer…

…Except for this delicious, simple, and refreshing granita I’m about to share with you. A granita is essentially shaved ice made from sugar, water, and fruit. It’s similar to sorbet or Italian ice but coarser and more granular in texture and hails from Sicily (as do many frozen treats—for a brief history check out this great NPR piece).

Though we love ice cream (and now have our very own ice cream maker!) we were looking for something a little less indulgent and a little more refreshing to combat the sweltering temperatures. Granitas are incredibly simple. I first learned this last summer when I made a watermelon ginita (yes, a granita + gin!). A granita only requires simple syrup, fresh fruit juice of your choice, and time in the freezer + regular scraping with a fork to create shaved ice. You need to be sure you’ll be at home for the duration of the process to achieve the right texture (somewhere between a slushy and Italian ice is our preference) but it’s mostly inactive time.

We chose lemon for our granita because we’re big fans of citrus. I love all homemade lemon-flavored treats from lemonade to cakes to bars. Perhaps it’s because lemons make sweets so light and bright you forget you’re eating dessert! We also went with lemon because one of our favorite food bloggers *happened* to have recently posted a lemon ice recipe with a great video, which is what we followed and what I recommend.

The most basic instructions are: 1) make simple syrup 2) let simple syrup cool to room temperature 3) add lemon juice and lemon zest to simple syrup 3) pour mixture into a large, shallow baking dish 4) freeze and stir/scrape with a fork every 20-30 minutes until you achieve the right texture (will take 3+ hours). We found that with our freezer, it was best to leave the mixture undisturbed for the first 45 minutes to an hour and start the regular stirring after that but every freezer is different.

Here’s the granita mixture pre-freezer:

And here is the finished product, which we enjoyed on our new deck overlooking the backyard:

We hope you enjoy this granita as much as we did!


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