Today I want to present to you a lovely dessert with Italian origins - I have a hard time believing this is the first time it's made its way into my kitchen repertoire but better now than never! I'm talking about a granita (gra-ni-ta); a course-texture ice confection typically made of fruit. Think of it as a grown-up and sophisticated version of a sno cone!
I first was delighted with a granita at the home of my fun and outgoing friend Helene, in Dallas (Helene is the voice behind the popular and zany lifetyle blog, Helene in Between). Ryan and I had a delicious dinner made by Helene and her husband, Michael, followed by a summer stroll around White Rock Lake. We returned to the house and Helene served the most delicious and refreshing watermelon granita. Since it was a weeknight and we were all hot from the walk, this granita was the perfect dessert option to satisfy my intensely untamable sweet tooth without making me feel like I had overindulged.
Granita is also something I'd seen feature many a time on Giada de Laurentiis cooking shows. She often associated the dessert with spa cuisine or outdoor menus. The version I'm sharing with you today is made mostly of cucumbers, so it would be perfect to serve at a "spa day" type of party or a ladies luncheon. The cucumbers that made their way into the recipe today were given to me by a sweet coworker who is always eager to share lovelies with me from her garden, so I must say thank-you to Julie!
There are more versions and flavor profiles for granitas than I can count, but I've included links to some variations that I think would be delicious along with the cucumber lime granita recipe below. Tell me about your first granita experience in the comments sections below!
Cucumber Lime Granita
- Zest of one lime
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pound of cucumbers peeled, seeded and diced into 1'' pieces
- Mexican chile seasoning for fruit you can find this in the produce section of most grocery stores. Dried ancho chile powder would be a good substitute.
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute; remove from heat.
- Place juice mixture and chopped cucumber in a blender and process until smooth. Cool completely. Pour mixture into an 11 x 7?inch baking dish. Cover and freeze for 45 minutes; scrape with a fork and incorporating the frozen outside with the softer inside of the pan. Freeze.
- Scrape mixture every 45 minutes until completely frozen (about 3 hours). Remove from freezer; scrape with a fork until fluffy. Serve with a lime wedge and a sprinkle of chile powder.