Granita is a frozen Italian dessert made from water, sugar and flavor of choice. Fresh fruit Granita are immensely popular but you can practically make a granita from any flavoring. Summer and citrus kind of go hand in hand for me so for this post I will be sharing my Orange Granita recipe. This dessert is very simple and easy to make and the best part is you don't need any fancy icecream machine to make it. All you will need to do is pour the liquid/juice in a pan/container and pop it in the freezer. After about every 30 mins in next 2-3 hours scrap the ice crystals using a fork and Tadaaa you will have nice and granular granita. Isn't that easy!!
When I first had granita it reminded me of "Gola" - a popular street dessert/snack in India. The difference being, for Gola you shave the ice and then flavor the ice using artificial sweet syrups/flavors whereas for granitas you create the granular ice from the flavor/syrup itself and is much more healthier.
If you are lucky to find juicy and sweet oranges you could make this dessert without adding sugar keeping it all natural. I like my granita to be sweet and sour. So I like to balance the sweet and tanginess from the orange with a bit of tartness from the lemons. But its totally upto your taste and could skip it too.
Now to the recipe...
Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used about 3 and half oranges)
1- 2 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
1 -2 tbsp simple syrup or sugar (to taste)
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp orange zest (optional)
Few mint leaves for garnishing
Wash the oranges thoroughly. In a clean container grate half an orange to get the zest and then juice the oranges. Allow the juice and the zest to sit for about 5-10 mins (marinating) and then strain the juice along with the zest into a freezer safe container (i used 5X7 glass container). Taste the juice to understand the level of sourness and sweetness. Based on that go ahead and add the lemon juice,simple syrup and salt. Mix everything well and place the container in the freezer.
After 30-45 mins scrap the ice formed pulling it from the sides to center using a fork. At this stage you will notice that the ice is just beginning to form and there will be a thin layer of ice below which there will be liquid (pic1). Go ahead and scrap it. Once done for the entire container place it back in the freezer and repeat the process after every 30mins for the next 2-3 hours.(The above pics are scrapings done after every 30 mins) After about doing it for 3-4 times you will notice that the ice is now flaky and granular. That's what we are looking for. Once done place the lid and freeze until use.
- To make simple syrup add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally. Switch off and then let it cool. It stays good for couple of days in refrigerator and is handy for making lemonades and granitas.
- The wider the container the better as it help in freezing faster and uniformly.
- Fresh orange juice can vary in taste so it always advisable to taste and then add the lemon and sugar as required. The above ratio mentioned worked well with the oranges I used.
- I usually don't cover my freezer safe container during the making process. I cover once its done and ready to be stored.
That's it, out Citrusy and fancy yet easy to make Orange Granita is ready. Serve this dessert right out of the freezer and Enjoy.