It has nothing to do with bad weather.
It should not be brown, it should not make your frown.
It’s not the kind of slush that belongs on the ground.
It’s the kind that belongs in a glass on your dessert table this season.
It’s called granita.
It’s easy to make, sophisticated (20 points above 7-11 slushies, and 2 points below Grace Kelly) and it will be the perfect dish to have at your next holiday event. With everyone filling the table with gut bombs, this is refreshment in a glass. If you spike it with grappa or brandy, it can double as a digestif. Here are a few recipes:
Cranberry Granita, courtesy of Alton Brown and The Food Network
2 cups water
5 1/2 ounces cranberries, approximately 1 1/2 cups, washed and sorted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Place the water, cranberries and sugar into a small saucepan, set over medium-high heat and simmer until the berries begin to pop, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Puree with a stick blender, blender or food processor, for 1 minute. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer directly into a metal 13 by 9-inch pan. Do not press on the skins. Simply allow the juice to drip through the strainer. Add the zest and stir to combine. Place in the freezer until set, at least 6 hours and up to overnight. Once frozen, scrape the mixture with a fork to create a shaved ice texture. Serve immediately.
* If you are tasked with bringing a dessert and booze, or a dessert wine, consider a boozy granita. *
Pear and Limoncello Granita, courtesy of imbibe magazine
1 cup water
2 cups Riesling (see note)1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 ripe pears peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1/4 cup limoncello
Mix together water, 1 cup wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add pears, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly in cooking liquid. Drain the pears, reserving the cooking liquid.
Puree the pears in a food processor until smooth. You should have 1 cup of pear puree. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the cooking liquid, limoncello and remaining wine to the bowl. Mix well. Pour into a shallow pan that will fit into the freezer, such as an 8 X 8-inch cake pan, and freeze.
Gently stir the granita every 2 hours or until frozen. This allows the mixture to freeze without separating and gives a proper crystal-like texture.
Once the granita is frozen, scrape the mixture with a spoon or ice cream scoop and serve immediately. Garnish with lemon zest or a sprig of mint
Granita Bellini, courtesy of Shaina Olmanson and Harvard Common Press via Seattle Magazine
For 8 of these refreshers, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and cool slightly. Then combine 3 medium-size peaches that have been peeled and cut into wedges, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and that simple syrup in a blender and pulse until smooth. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of puree into each of 8 tall pint jars, then cover, freeze for 2 hours, and stir each glass with a fork. Continue to freeze for an additional 3 hours, remove the jars from the freezer and uncover, loosen the granita mixture one more time with a fork, then top off each jar with Prosecco and serve immediately.