Granitas 5 Ways

Summer marches on! With strawberries overflowing everywhere I turn, I thought this would be a perfect – and incredibly cheap and simple – way to celebrate. Talk about both fabulous and frugal; all you need besides the strawberries (which are of course the most affordable right now) and water (free) is sugar (though you can substitute another sweetener if you prefer). I whipped up a batch, and then went crazy making 4 more.

I realized only after the fact that two of the pairs I made look almost identical: the Cappucino and Earl Grey tea are both creamy beige, and the Raspberry Lime Rickey and Strawberry Balsamic are both, well, bright red! At least the Ginger Peach is unique. Anyway, I assure you that the flavors are much more varied than their looks.

The Cappucino and Earl Grey versions are also so cost effective – I generally have both on hand in the pantry, along with sweeteners, so if you’re like me, all you need is the cream. The raspberry and peach were both made using frozen fruit I had on hand, and I luckily had one lime left, and a hunk of ginger in the freezer (the best way to store leftover ginger – you can grate it directly from frozen with your microplane and it lasts forever).

You MUST try at least one of these, or a few – or all 5 if you get possessed by the process like me.

STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC

1 1/2 cups water
½ cup sugar
4 cups ripe strawberries, hulled
2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (optional)

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan; stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool to nearly room temperature. Puree the remaining strawberries in a food processor and stir into simple syrup.

Transfer to a shallow container and place in freezer. Every half hour to 45 minutes, using a fork, stir the granita, scraping the bottom and sides so that it freezes evenly. You’ll have to repeat this process about 5-6 times, over about 3 hours or so (every freezer being different).

Note about the balsamic: I think this would also be terrific both in taste and presentation with a drizzle of balsamic reduction syrup on top, if you have any on hand. If not, do try mixing a few teaspoons in as above.

ICED CAPPUCINO

3 cups strong brewed coffee
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream or half & half
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Put hot coffee in a bowl.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve, then add cream or half & half and cinnamon. Let cool a bit, to about room temperature.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow pan, place in the freezer, and follow the rest of the above instructions, stirring mixture with a fork approximately every 30-45 minutes.

EARL GREY GRANITA

3 cups strongly brewed Earl Grey tea (I used 5 bags)
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup cream or half & half

Follow instructions for coffee mixture above. Note: this took the longest of all 5 varieties to set up for some reason – if it doesn’t seem to be freezing at first, just be patient. It may take an hour or so for it to start to crystallize

RASPBERRY LIME RICKEY

1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ cups raspberries
1 lime – juice and zest

Follow instructions for strawberry granita, adding the lime juice and zest (best procured using a microplane) to the berries in the food processor. You might want to reserve a little zest for garnish, as the vibrant colors together are so purty. Here they are hanging out in the food processor together, just before being blitzed.

GINGER PEACH GRANITA

1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups sliced peaches
1-2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (start small & add more to taste)

Again, follow the instructions for the strawberry granita. Keep in mind that you can vary the thickness; this one in particular got a bit sticky as it was freezing. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, you just may want to avoid it getting TOO thick.

My freezer is stocked and my weekend guests are stoked! All best enjoyed poolside, of course.

— posted by Anne

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