It’s hot at my house. Like, I-just-went-to-Home-Depot-to-get-more-fans, hot. It’s times like these I like to find something refreshing to cool down. Ice cream sounds good, but I’m starting the week off dairy-free—no cheese, no yogurt, no fun. When I opened my freezer to find something cold, disappointingly dairy-laden gelato is all that stared back. My next best option was ice cubes, so I decided to make something else frozen with a little more substance.
Popsicles seem the logical choice, but without wanting to dig to find my trays, I envisioned an Italian ice, and then remembered reading about granita recently. I have seen recipes popping-up for them all over the place, even in my Cooking Light magazine. Sounds a little fancy, but it’s really just an adult snow cone, and that is right up my alley! But what flavor to chose? I’m thinking of creating an adult spin on granita, sans the food coloring and 3 cups of sugar. I do have a very adorable, baby watermelon sitting aimlessly on my counter, and a surplus of fresh basil & mint. All refreshing flavors for summer, so here we have it—watermelon granita with basil, lime, mint and little bit of tropical rum.
I shall call it Watermelon Mojito Granita, and it will taste like vacation!!
Time to freeze our melons:
- 1 baby watermelon, seedless (or about 1 pound)
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 4 large basil leaves
- 5 mint leaves
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup Malibu Rum (optional)
- in saucepan on stove, combine sugar, water, juice of one half lime, zest of lime, and mix with a whisk.
- Heat mixture till boiling, whisking frequently.
- Once at a boil, remove pan from heat and 2 of the basil leaves, all mint leaves, stir and let cool 5 minutes.
- Now add rum to mixture, stir and let sit another 10-15 minutes to steep and cool further.
- strain out the basil and mint leaves and discard.
- chop one fresh basil leaf finely.
- In food processor combine fresh watermelon fruit (skins removed), chopped basil leaf and sugar mixture. Pulse till smooth.
- Pour granita mix into a glass 9x13 dish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 40-50 minutes.
- With fork fluff/scrape into shavings, recover and re-freeze for another 40-50 min.
- Repeat fluffing/scraping of freezing granita, freeze for another 40-50 min, then remove and fluff and serve cold!
- *you can repeat the fluffing/freezing every 40-50 minutes till granita is well frozen into fine shavings.
We ended up with one granita bonita. The flavors are very refreshing, light & not too sweet; perfect on a hot day with no AC. We only use a very small amount of Malibu Rum, which wasn’t too much to prevent freezing correctly, but enough to add a slight tropical hint and give us the ‘mojito’ vibe. We essentially ‘steep’ the basil and mint to infuse the simple-like syrup we make on the stove. We add the rum post heat, so not to boil it out completely. The texture is fine and somewhat ‘fluffy’ for a ice-based dessert, and reminiscent of an Italian Ice. In fact ‘granita’ literally means ‘little grains’ and is Sicilian in origin. They are traditionally made with a wide-variety of rich ingredients like espresso, lemon, chocolate, etc. Ours is a little healthier and I wouldn’t change a thing about this combo, except maybe making more! I envision this going fast over the next few days with these temps. Now I just need an island, hammock and some Jimmy Buffett. . . .
Since that probably won’t happen anytime soon, I guess i’ll just enjoy a delicious cup of granita in front of my growing family of house fans. Stay cool out there!Pin It