In the beginning of quarantine, everyone was baking banana bread. The process of baking was comforting — a fun and delicious distraction from the stress of living through a pandemic. Now, at the end of summer, fruity and refreshing recipes can offer the same distraction and deliciousness.
If you’re looking for a new recipe to try out, I recommend making granita! Granita is a frozen, sorbet-like dessert that originates from Sicily. It’s typically made by freezing a mixture of fruit juice, water, and sugar.
I chose to follow Bon Appétit’s recipe for blackberry granita, and I was not disappointed.
I began by blending blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and water before straining the mixture into a metal baking pan. Then comes the freezing process that gives granita its unique, crystalline structure. I put the mixture in the freezer and took it out every 30 minutes to stir up and break down the frozen pieces.
The repetition of freezing and mixing granita gives it a texture similar to shaved ice — think of it as an upscale freeze pop. It’s satisfying to crush frozen chunks with a fork and stir until the pieces of ice have been distributed throughout the whole mixture. This process is also great if you have become a summer procrastinator. I would do something productive for 30 minutes, then take a break to stir my granita!
After about two or three hours of stirring and freezing, the granita can be left overnight. While the granita was freezing, I also made a light lemon cream with mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar, and lemon juice.
Using the granita as a base, I added a generous dollop of lemon cream, blackberry halves, and lemon zest for garnish. The result is the perfect summer dessert. The tangy blackberry granita melts in your mouth, and the sweet but subtle lemon cream complements it beautifully. The blackberry halves provide more texture, and the lemon zest creates tiny flavor punches. The light, summery flavors and textures of this blackberry granita are ideal for when you don’t want something too heavy or rich.
I have never made granita before this summer, but I decided to try something new! At first, I wanted to make popsicle sticks or ice cream, but both require niche equipment like popsicle molds or ice cream makers. You can use a blender, emulsifier, or food processor for granitas, so they’re a bit more practical. It’s also easy to make one big batch and share it with family members or eat it slowly throughout the week.
The other great thing about granita is that you can make it with whatever you have in your kitchen — strawberries, watermelon, lemons, limes, raspberries, mangos, oranges, peaches, the list goes on. It’s relatively quick and easy to make, and the freezing process is a good excuse to take a few minutes to yourself. Granitas can also easily become boozy (if you’re 21 years old) by adding alcohol that pairs well with your chosen fruit.
Beat the summer heat and take a break from internships, jobs, or binge-watching Netflix to treat yourself with a fruity granita!