Heard of “Granita” before? It’s an Italian semi-frozen treat. It’s kind of like a combination of sorbet and shaved ice. The outcome is all depends on how you freeze it. Some use a gelato machine, which give a finer texture to granita. It’s almost like a sorbet. Some just do it by hand with a fork, which make the ice crystal bigger and flakier. It looks like a shaved ice. No matter how you make it, it is still amazing dessert!
This granita recipe is the do-it-by-hand version. No special equipment needed. Just prepare a flat-bottom pan, a fork and free up some space in your freezer. Instead of bland shaved ice with syrup, granita was flavored at the very beginning with real fruits and herbs. Instead of using traditional ingredients like lemon or strawberry, I chose these ripe and fresh lychees from Melissa’s Produce. Lychee is sweet, fragrant and light. Lychees are one of those special fruits I love. I grew up eating them in Hong Kong. However, it isn’t too easy to get them in the US. Thanks to Melissa’s Produce! I can now easily get them online when they are in season and have them at my doorsteps within a couple of days. How convenient!
Other than lychees, I also used ginger and lemon in this granita. Ginger was infused into the sugar syrup, which gave a nice depth of flavor. Puree the flesh of lychees, add the syrup and a little bit of fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice helped to balance out the sweetness of lychees and syrup. Freeze it and scrape the ice every 30 minutes for 4 hours. It’s incredible to see how the liquid transformed into little ice flakes. Tons of fun! This granita was extraordinary! Refreshing, flaky, sweet and cold. This is absolutely the dream dessert for summer!
About 6 servings
– 2 cups drinking water
– ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 ginger slice (1 x ½-inch) (slightly smashed)
– 18 fresh lychee
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice (maybe more)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar and ginger slice. Cook and stir until sugar dissolved. Remove from heat and cool for about 45 minutes.
- Peel the lychee and remove the pits. Save the juice in the process. Place the lychee flesh and juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the cooled sugar syrup. Taste and add a little more lemon juice if needed.
- Transfer the mixture to a flat-bottomed 9 x 13-inch baking or glass dish. Transfer to freezer and chill for 30 minutes.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly with a fork and freeze again for 30 minutes. Continue to freeze for another 4 hours, scraping and breaking the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes. Scoop to serving cups and serve immediately.
- Make sure NOT to use a non-stick pan when freezing the granite. You don’t want to scrape up any non-stick coating while mixing the granite.
- For storage, transfer the finished granite to an air-tight container. Store up to a week.
- Got extra lychees? Make this lychee beverage.
(Inspired by Williams-Sonoma Taste)