Granita is essentially the Italian equivalent of a slushie or snow cone, but yet so much more! It is a very versatile and incredibly easy to make edible, all you need is a freezer-proof dish, a fork and not much else, and the beauty of 'Granita Siciliana', or 'Granite' as the French call it, is that you can make it with just about anything that takes your fancy. It lends itself to the sweet rather than savory, but there is room for experimentation in that department too as you will discover if you try out the Tomato and Basil Granita recipe detailed below.
Enjoy Granita for breakfast with a brioche, as a refreshing snack to cool you down on a warm, sunny day, as a light, palate cleanser, perhaps an amuse-bouche between meals, or even a tasty, taste bud tickling dessert after a heavy meal. The options are varied and wide!
Here are 8 granita recipe suggestions that may inspire you to come up with your own ideas:
- Raspberry Granita
- Chocolate Granita
- Gin and Tonic Granita
- Pink Grapefruit Granita
- Tomato and Basil Granita
- Aperol Citrus Granita
- Iced Tea Granita
- Mocha Granita
1. Raspberry Granita
This brightly colored, berry-tastic dessert can be served on its own or as an accompaniment to another raspberry flavored, after dinner sweet such as a raspberry pavlova.
You can use fresh or frozen raspberries but if you opt for frozen they won't blend quite as easily, so either allow them to defrost beforehand or slightly warm the water you use.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 cup (225 g) caster sugar
- 13.5 fl oz (400 ml) water
- 2 lb (1 kg/5-6 cups) raspberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Add the sugar and half the water to a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, puree the raspberries together with the lemon juice and remaining water in a food processor.
- Sieve the blended raspberry mixture through a fine wire sieve to remove the seeds using a spoon to push through as much of the juice as possible.
- Combine the cooled sugar syrup and smooth raspberry juice and pour into a shallow baking dish.
- Freeze for about half an hour and then scrape the mixture with a fork to break up any lumps of forming ice.
- Repeat the scraping process every half an hour until the raspberry granita has formed into small ice crystals and is frozen throughout.
- Serve in wine glass or small dish, perhaps with a sprig of mint to garnish.
Here is a quick video overview on the making of raspberry granita:
- Adding just a tablespoon of 40% proof alcohol will help stop it from freezing completely if you leave it longer than intended between scrapes and assist in the formation of smaller crystals.
2. Chocolate Granita
The richness of pure, 70% cocoa chocolate, in frosty form with a light yet creamy texture makes this granita pure decadence in a dish! If you are partial to the sweeter things in life, definitely give this a go. Unlike the fruitier granita recipes outlined above and below, this is not a light snack by any means, rather an indulgent serving of melt in the mouth goodness.
Yield: 6 servings
- 16 fl oz (473 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (64 g) sugar, or to taste
- 2/3 cup (75 g) 100% cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-ounces (85 g) semi-sweet chocolate, 70% cocoa, I use Green and Black's or sometimes a supermarket own brand.
- Add the water, sugar and cocoa powder to a pan. Stir until the ingredients have formed into a smooth paste and heat on a medium flame.
- When the mixture has settled to a steady simmer, whisk in the vanilla extract and chocolate. Stir continuously until all of the chocolate has melted.
- Pour the chocolate concoction into a baking tray or glass, freezer proof dish measuring about 8 x 8 x 2 inches and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Cover and freeze, returning after 30 minutes to scrape with a fork to encourage the form of ice flakes and break up any chunks.
- Repeat this scraping process every 30 minutes until completely frozen.
- Serve in glasses or dishes and garnish if desired. Alternatively transfer to a freezer bag if not using immediately.
3. Gin and Tonic Granita
This is a great little party piece to whip out as guests arrive for dinner. G&T with an apple-granita twist!
Yield: 8 servings
- 8 oz (220 g) caster sugar
- 4 fl oz (120 ml) water
- 6 fl oz (170 ml) good quality gin
- 18 fl oz (500 ml) tonic
- 1 lemon - juiced
- 2 Bramley (cooking) apples, peeled and grated
- Add the water and sugar to a pan and boil until sugar has dissolved completely. Remove from heat.
- Combine the sugar solution with the gin, tonic, lemon juice and grated apple.
- Allow to cool and pour into a baking tray (approximately 8 x 8 inches), cover and place in the freezer.
- Every 30 minutes thoroughly stir the mixture. Repeat this process until completely frozen (around 4 hours).
- Serve in a glass dessert bowl or wine glass with optional applesauce and extra diced or sliced apple garnish if desired or lemon and lime in true Gin and Tonic style as shown in the image above.
Optional Apple Caramel Sauce:
- 18 fl oz (500 ml) apple juice
- 1 3/4 oz (50 g) butter, softened.
- Heat the apple juice in a pan until it has reduced in volume to a thick caramel (approximately 45 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Allow to cool.
4. Pink Grapefruit Granita
This zingy grapefruit granita packs a fruity punch with a sharp but every so sweet flavor to make a refreshing and light treat.
Ideally you would use grapefruit juice freshly squeezed by your own fair hands but sometimes time and effort is a factor and so a good quality pink grapefruit juice can be substituted. It may depend on the quantity of grapefruit granita servings you require and squeezing yourself might be more feasible for a smaller yield.
One grapefruit half produced a little under 100 ml worth of juice but grapefruit sizes and juiciness will vary.
Yield: 8 servings
- 4 cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, strained (from 4 to 5 grapefruits)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (use more or less depending on the natural sweetness of the grapefruit juice)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons gin (vodka may be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
- Mint, for garnish
- Cut grapefruits neatly in half and carefully scrape out the insides then freeze or refrigerate the hollow halves. If you juice the grapefruit halves and then tug the flesh it comes away easily. Once you have made your granita, spoon into grapefruits and serve.
- Add half of the grapefruit juice and the sugar to a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Allow to cool briefly.
- Combine the sugary grapefruit syrup to the remaining juice and then add the alcohol, bitters and salt.
- Pour the mixture into a baking tray with sides high enough to contain the liquid and allow room for scraping. If necessary split into two batches.
- Place in the freezer for an hour then start the scraping. Work from the outer edges to the opposite sides and keep breaking up any frozen lumps to allow small ice crystals to form.
- Repeat this process around every half an hour for about 3 or 4 hours until the granita has formed and all the liquid has frozen into small crystals.
- Serve the finished pink grapefruit granita either in glass dessert dishes or frozen grapefruit halves garnished with a sprig of mint.
5. Tomato and Basil Granita
This savory granita would make a tantalizing 'amuse-bouche' to serve at a dinner party or perhaps as a super light lunch on a hot day. The sugar content in this recipe is low and, aside from a smattering of salt, the ingredients are healthy.
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 pounds (900 g) very ripe tomatoes. Choose a juicy, high quality tomato such as plum and try to avoid tomatoes that are a lighter shade of red/orange, instead opt for ones that are a deeper red as these will have a stronger flavor.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
- Cut the tomatoes into chunks.
- Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, pepper vinegar and garlic to a blender and puree until the consistency is smooth.
- Add a drop or two of Tabasco sauce to the mixture and then strain through a sieve and into a freezer-proof, baking dish. Push through as much of the juice as possible.
- Stir in the basil.
- Freeze the tomato and basil concoction and after 45 minutes start to scrape the forming ice from around the sides and give the mixture a good stir.
- At 30 minute intervals from here on out scrape the mixture to break up any icy lumps until the tomato and basil granita has frozen completely and formed into fine ice crystals.
- Serve in glass bowls and decorate with fresh basil.
6. Aperol Citrus Granita
The Italian aperitif Aperol made a bit of a come back a couple of years ago, keen observers will have noted many a trendy folk of London drinking Aperol Spritzer's instead of the usual glass of Pimms or rose on those rare occasions when the sun decides to put in an appearance. Aperol added to citrus in this fruity granita gives a punchy flavor that, along with a naughty touch of alcohol, is sure to put a smile on your face.
Yield: 8 servings
- 8 fl oz (236 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 8 fl oz (235 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 4 fl oz (118 ml) Aperol
- 1 cup (128 g) sugar
- 4 fl oz (118 ml) water
- ¼ teaspoon orange bitters to taste
- Finely grated orange zest to garnish
- Add the sugar and water to a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Allow to cool.
- Combine the sugar syrup and remaining granita ingredients and pour into a freezer-proof baking dish.
- At intervals of 30 minutes, scrape the mixture to break up any chunks of forming ice until the granita has frozen (about 3 hours).
- Serve in glasses or bowls with the grated orange zest as garnish if desired.
7. Iced Tea Granita
You will need to brew your tea at double strength to preserve the flavor and the same goes for the sweetener; to avoid losing the sweetness through freezing add twice as much as usual.
You can opt to leave out the lemon part of this recipe if you prefer your iced tea without.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 cup (136 g) sugar
- 25 fl oz (740 ml) water
- 4 good-quality, black tea bags such as English breakfast.
- 2 lemons
- Zest the lemons and then juice.
- Bring sugar and water to the boil, add the tea and steep for around 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Combine the cooled tea, lemon juice and zest and pour into a freezer proof dish.
- Cover and freeze.
- At 30 minutes scrape the mixture thoroughly to break up any solidifying chunks.
- Repeat the process every half an hour for about 3 hours or until the tea granita has formed into crystals.
- Serve in glass dishes with extra lemon or lemon peel to garnish.
8. Mocha Granita
The mocha granita is a personal favorite. It takes no time at all to whip up a batch and is a great alternative way to get your caffeine pick me up on a warm day when you don't fancy necking a hot brew.
Yield: 6 servings
- 3 cups hot espresso
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3.5 oz (100 g) bitter sweet chocolate, 70% cocoa
- Whipped cream for garnish
- Combine the coffee, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan and heat at a low temperature until the sugar has dissolved and chocolate melted.
- Pour into a baking dish with 2-inch high sides and allow to cool for about half an hour.
- Once cooled, cover and freeze.
- Using a fork, comb the mixture, scraping the edges to break up the ice.
- Continue to scrape and stir at 30 minute intervals until the chocolate granita crystals have formed and is frozen throughout.
- Serve topped with whipped cream in wine glasses, champagne flutes, a coffee cup or dessert dish.
If you plan to use whipped cream try layering it with the granita for a nice visual.
- Hopefully you will have found something that appeals in the recipes listed above or feel inspired to come up with your own flavor of Granita.
- Looking for more Granita recipes? Check out my Watermelon Granita hub.
Zoe (author) from London, England on June 11, 2015:
Thank you poetryman! Granita is definitely a winner on a hot day :D
poetryman6969 on June 11, 2015:
The red one looks almost gory but I would like to give some of these a try. With summer coming on a cool refreshment sounds like a good thing.