Granita is nothing more than a flavored liquid (in this case lemon sweetened with sugar and frozen until crystallized. Understanding this makes it very easy to make any flavor granita that you desire.
You can also use orange juice for granita; simply freeze it as is. Should you choose to flavor your granite with alcohol, don’t add it to the syrup – it will inhibit the freezing process. Instead pour it over the granite just before you serve it. It will get slushy, but a good slush on a hot summer day might be just the right thing.
- 3 cups water
- ¾ to 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- Fresh mint leaves and/or whipped heavy cream
Pour the water into a heavy medium saucepan. Stir in between ¾ and 1 cup of sugar, depending on your preference. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, over medium heat. Lower the heat so the syrup is simmering and cook 5 minutes.
Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. (If you’d like to speed up the process, place the bowl of syrup into a larger bowl half full of ice, and stir the syrup until cool.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest, then pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Set the pan on the freezer shelf. Every 15 minutes, break up the ice that has formed and stir it into the liquid portion of the lemon mixture. Continue until it is completely frozen. The granita is now ready to serve and should be served within a few hours. Spoon the granita into tall chilled glasses.
Whip the heavy cream, if using, until it holds soft peaks. Run a fork through the granite to break up any large crystals, and spoon the granite into tall glasses. Top with a sprig of mint and/or a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.