Many of us have had this experience – walked into a convience store, saw a brightly colored machine with lot of fun logos, drawing us to buy a frozen neon colored slush that is full of corn syrup and fake fruity flavors that tastes good and give us a sugar rush. From time to time that sounds tempting and even fun. But there is a better way. If you have not been introduced before, let meet granita. Just like the 7-Eleven experience this too is a frozen slushy treat. Where 7-11 has ingredients made in a lab, granita uses real fruit and has a texture that is much more sificated.
I found a really cheap deal on small Moro Blood Oranges (6 for $1). The Moro variety is the most commonly found blood orange in the United States, it’s usually the only one most people will find. Any blood orange variety will work in any recipe. I planned on using them to make a sweet frozen treat. I have done sherbet in the past (see my recipe for Blood Orange Sherbet). I thought how about sorbet? I had enough cleaning to do in the kitchen, where I didn’t want to get out the ice cream maker that I would have to clean all the parts. I picked granita. Clean up is easy and it’s a great way to highly the flavor of the blood orange.
Blood oranges are in season from late December to roughly April. They are their peak of flavor usually later in the season. I find the first ones to hit the market in December to be rather lackluster in flavor.
How to Make Granita
Making granita is a simple process. Just three ingredients needed – fruit juice, sugar, and water. The sugar is dissolved completely first in the water, then the juice is added in. Here is where technique comes in. You place the liquid into a dish, I like using metal as gets cold very fast Place it in the freezer and then every 30 mintues you take a fork and scrap it, until completely frozen. This will create really small ice crystal, which gives the dessert an excellent mouth feel. The granita is best enjoyed the day, or within a couple days of making it.
- 8 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm the water up just until all the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from the heat. Add the blood orange juice. Mix to combine.
- Pour into a shallow, wide aluminum square or rectangle baking pan. Place into the freezer.
- Every 30 minutes, use a fork to scrap the mixture. Scrap both vertically and horizontally.
- Repeat the process until completely frozen about 2 to 2½ hours.
- For best results, serve the day of, or within a couple days.