This is a dessert that I made for our 4th of July celebration. I did not feel like baking; therefore came up with watermelon granita, which was perfect since I had watermelon sitting on the counter asking to be eaten…not to mention that this a perfect light and refreshing dessert for a hot summer day.
Granita is just a frozen dessert very similar to sorbet, which is based mainly of water, sugar and flavors. The mix is placed in the freezer and scraped, so ice crystals are formed. There are many versions of watermelon granite throughout the internet, but basically the ingredients are watermelon, sugar, lemon/lime. It is very versatile since you can adjust to your liking in regards to sweetness, tartness and so on. Not to mention that granita is a good alternative for people that want a low fat kind of ice dessert.
This is a very simple recipe, a little laborious since you have to keep going back and forward to the freezer to scrape the ice. Although you could leave it longer, but then you will need a lot of muscle to scrape, because the block of watermelon ice will be rock hard. In spite of the work it is well worth it, the watermelon granita is very refreshing and you can prepare it in advance. As a matter of fact after the party, we had some leftover. I stored the granite in an air tight container and kept in the freezer for almost a week and it is still perfectly delicious and fresh until the last serving.
8 cups of watermelon cut into big chunks (this was approximately ½ of my watermelon)
1/3 cup sugar
juice from 2 limes, approximately 5 tablespoons
fresh mint leaves for garnish
In a blender place approximately half of the watermelon, half of the sugar and half lime juice. Puree until well blended and place the puree watermelon blend in a 13 x 9 in pyrex. Repeat the process with the other half of watermelon, sugar and lime juice. Pour the blend again in the pyrex and mix gently.
Cover the pyrex with aluminum foil and place in the freezer for approximately 2 hours.
Remove the pyrex from the freezer and scrape the top layer of ice with a spoon or fork to lose the ice. I notice that the ice on the side of the dish was harder than the middle. Cover the dish and place the tray back in the freezer.
Repeat the process for 2 or 3 times until all the ice is scraped.
Before serving, I lose the ice crystal with a fork and spoon into a serving glass.
Garnish with the fresh mint leaves and serve.
Did you know that granita is believed to be originally from Sicily, Italy? Interestingly granite is served with a brioche as a breakfast during summer.