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Granita, I Just Met A Dessert Named Granita

June 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by alfagee

Sorry for the cheezy West Side Story earworm. But, I really am excited about this recipe.

For those of you who don’t know, granita is a frozen dessert made from water, sugar, and a flavoring of some sort. It’s light and fluffy, a lot like Hawaiian shave ice. Historically, it’s related to sherbet, which is from the Middle East. Granita, though, originates from Italy–Sicily, to be specific.

Ok, whatever. It’s good. And it’s hella easy to make. For this one, I started with watermelon (it’s this week’s BSI challenge), and then amped up the flavor with ginger. I had so much fun with that one, I’ve already started another batch of watermelon and thyme; I’m planning strawberry with either mint or basil for later in the week.

Go clear a spot in your freezer and get started.

Ginger Watermelon Granita

6 cups of watermelon, in big chunks (remove the seeds or buy a seedless melon and avoid the hassle)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
About 1-2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3-4 tbps plain old vodka


  1. Add water and ginger slices to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and drop down to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add sugar to ginger water, and stir frequently to dissolve sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and let ginger steep.
  3. Add watermelon to blender, working in batches if you need to. Puree until watermelon is completely liquid.
  4. Add watermelon to a large freezer-safe baking pan (I used one about 9×13).
  5. Strain ginger syrup, and stir into watermelon mixture. Then add vodka, and stir again to combine. **Don’t leave out the vodka, or you’ll get a block of watermelon ice.
  6. Put the baking dish in the freezer — keep it level! Let set up about 30 minutes, then scrape the mixture with a fork to break up the frozen pieces into light, fluffy shavings. Mix these in with any liquid that hasn’t set up yet.
  7. Repeat this process every 45ish minutes, until you get totally bored with it.  It’ll take 4 hours-overnight for the granita to freeze completely.
  8. When you’re ready to serve, scrape up the granita with a fork again, and put the fluffy ice in a wine glass. If you’re smart, you’ll let the pan of granita sit out about 5 minutes before scraping and serving. It’s less work and the flavor is better.

To store, fluff the remaining granita and put it into a plastic container. You can refluff the granita as you’re ready to eat it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2009 9:09 pm

    This looks so tasty! Thanks so much for you entry! I will add it now. :0)

  2. June 16, 2009 11:30 am

    This looks so refreshing. It is now on my hit-list and will be made at least once this summer. Have a wonderful day.

  3. E11even permalink
    June 16, 2009 11:21 pm

    why does fluffing the granita make me laugh?

    this looks good, and watermelons were buy one get one free today. yay!

  4. E11even permalink
    July 25, 2009 9:05 pm

    I made this today with Jamaican rum instead of vodka, and I may have added slightly more than 2-3 TB. 😉

    Most excellent.

    And the mix sans alcohol makes a lovely popsicle for the youngsters.

  5. LaLa permalink
    August 10, 2009 12:39 pm

    This looks entirely too sweet – not remotely healthful. Do you really need the 2/3 c of sugar?

    • alfagee permalink*
      August 10, 2009 12:43 pm

      Nobody’s forcing you to make it, Chica.

      And yes, you do need the sugar for it to taste remotely sweet. Freezing dilutes all the flavors, so you have to build them back in. Considering this makes about 16 servings, it’s not much sugar per bowl.

      • E11even permalink
        August 10, 2009 9:39 pm

        as someone who has made this (rather than someone who just makes assumptions about recipes without trying them), yeah, without the sugar, it wouldn’t be sweet at all, not to mention that’s not that much sugar over 6 cups of melon. I don’t like overly sweet fruit items, and this was perfect and refreshing.

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