My Great Compost Bed Experiment yielded a few fragrant, flavorful, but not-so-sweet cantaloupes, so I figured I'd use them up between smoothies and granita.
There are lots of granita recipes out there, and many are much more involved, but I adapted this super simple and easy recipe from epicurious because it's easily modified to add any additional flavorings (such as mint or freshly cracked black pepper), and it's easily doubled in case you want more servings or would like to use the granita as a base for the most delicious cocktails. Actually, you can modify it to use all kinds of yummy fruit - strawberries, peaches, and plums, for example.
As coarse as the crystals look in this pic, underneath, you end up with a superfine and flavorful slush that makes for an elegant and refreshing warm weather dessert or palate cleanser.
Time: About 20 minutes active
- 4 cups peeled and coarsely chopped cantaloupe (about 1 whole medium melon)
- 1/2 cup sugar (or so, to taste)
- a pinch of kosher salt (up to 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- 2 cups ice cubes
1) Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. I like to do this in 2 batches, halving the amounts for each batch, so I don't overcrowd the blender cup.
2) Pour mixture into a freezer safe 9 x 13 dish (baking dish or Pyrex work) and place in the freezer uncovered.
3) Stir the mixture every 30 minutes as the crystals form, for 3.5 to 4 hours, making sure to scrape down the sides and mix that portion in as well.
When the granita is completely crystallized (there is no mixture pooling on the sides uncrystallized), it is ready to serve. You don't want to keep stirring at this point because you might break the crystals down too fine and create blocks.
You can keep the granita in the freezer in this state for up to 2 hours before serving.
4) Spoon into your serving dish, garnish as desired, and serve.