Monday, March 2, 2009

Granitas for those hot days.

I know it is not a picture of a granita, but it is a good serving suggestion. Try buying up Depression Martini glasses or go to thrift shops and buy up all those one of a kind pretty glasses that are often there. I have some of these great Venetian glasses. What a presentation that would be! The first picture was taken in Lipari in a little Gelateria below the walls of the castle. The glasses are my own.
Try doing this with the Pizzelle recipe from Mildred Cafarella Borghini Sinor found elsewhere. Stand one in the glass like in the picture above. Also, try making a little sandwich with two cookies filled with just a skim of Nutella, vanilla frosting or lemon frosting.
Also try mixing a bit of ricotta cheese and confectioner's sugar and candied citrus peel...This would be very south Italian.
Ginger snaps, also found elsewhere filled with lemon frosting would be to die for. I am in dangerous territory here. My mouth is watering.

This was a rarity for us. I always loved Italian Ice, but often found it so sweet with sugar syrup that you felt awful if you had too much. This bears a very close relationship to the Strawberry Sorbet that I have posted elsewhere, and justly so as they are basically the same product. Granitas are more usually made from juices and thin flavored liquids however. And, they are consequently less nutritious. Nutrition was rarely a consideration however when contemplating this obvious dessert.

Boil together:

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar

When boiled and the sugar completely dissolved,

3 cups of juice, Soda, STRONG regular, green or herbal tea, coffee, espresso or a slurry of fruit pulp and liquid. Remember that the cold will dull the flavor of the juice, so whatever you use must be highly flavored.

Stir well to blend uniformly.

Pour into a lasagna pan or any container of a similar shape.

Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and scrape the surface of the freezing liquid till all has been "grated" into a coarse mound of crystals.

Return to the freezer and after twenty minutes, do this again. Repeat till the mass does not seem to have any liquid left in it.

The final product is not meant to be smooth, it should be composed of granules like a mound of rather small Pomegranate seeds. Serve in beautiful glasses or bowls that will display the color of the fruit used. Garnish with fruit, mint or ice cream and serve with plain cookies of a complementary flavor.

Remember that tomato is a fruit too, and this would be good with the addition of basil leaves to the tomato slurry. This might also be a good use for the Cusolito family Root Beer...Tower Root Beer.

This would also be good if you squeezed your own juice, to be served inside the empty fruit skins and refrozen. Make sure they are chilled first.

Add a little alcohol if you like, but alcohol does not like to freeze so not too much, or drizzle over it later.

Here is a thought. Make a Granita or Sorbet of cucumber, tomato and onion. Add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, lemon, celery seed and bit of salt(Remember too that the salt will not help your freezing process so be careful.) Serve in a martini glass and just before serving it, splash it with a tiny bit of vodka. Garnish with celery leaves.

When serving this, nothing would look better than a mound of little scoops made with a melon baller or undersized ice cream scoop....a little pyramid of the scoops with a nice garnish. Freeze the glasses before use and/or refreeze them after filling them.

Second recipe

Orange or Lemon Granita
Granita d'Arancia

Granita is a partially frozen slush that Italians love usually made with a variety of citrus or coffee flavors. The name comes from grana which means grainy since this is a slushy and not smooth mixture. It is a refreshing end to a meal.
Serves 4 to 6

4 large navel oranges plus one extra for garnish
1 large lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water

Pare the rind off the 4 oranges and lemon and try not to take the pith. Set aside.

Juice the oranges and lemon and set aside.

Heat the sugar and water in a medium size heavy duty sauce pan over low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to a boil without stirring for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is syrupy.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the orange and lemon rinds. Cover and cool.

Strain the syrup into a shallow rectangular casserole type dish. Add the fruit juice. Stir to mix well then freeze for 4 hours until slushy.(watch this process as I do not believe that it will be soft enough to do this after four hours)

Remove the dish from the freezer and mix with a fork; then return to freezer and freeze again for 4 hours or until almost solid. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then scoop into parfait glasses.

For decoration strip another orange and cut peel into thin strips and place over granita. Or add an orange wedge at the side of the glass.

Note: Any mix of citrus will work in this recipe. Mix and match or stick to your favorite flavor; they are all delicious and refreshing!

Granita #3
Number three is all the same process as the second, but with different ingredient proportions.

2 1/2 cups citrus juice
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
citrus zest

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