Many are familiar with sorbets and gelatos but do you know about a granita? Granitas are more similar to sorbet. They are water/sugar based. They are super simple to make, super refreshing and can be made to suit any taste. Some granitas have fruit purees or coffee in them, and some have alcohol. They come in every flavor and color you can imagine.
They come from Italy where they are closely related to sorbet or Italian ice. The main difference is that they have a more granular texture do to the freezing process of using them. You can purchase a machine to make it for you but it’s super easy to make on your own. (Machines will make it a much smoother texture, similar to sorbet.)
The basic recipe for granita is make a simple syrup and add whatever you wish to flavor the ice. Then you pour the mixture into a large rectangular baking dish. After the first hour, start running a fork through the freezing mixture every 20-30 minutes. The total process should take about 2 1/2-3 hours. You can decide when you think it is the right consistency.
Here is a recipe that I made using an herbal tea. Herbal teas are great for this because you can get a fruit and/or additional flavor into the ice. They are also inexpensive to use for this.
Lemon Ginger Snap Granita
4 cps water
4 tsp loose tea (made up of green tea, ginger root, lemon grass, lemon myrtle)
1/4 cp blue agave syrup
Place rectangular baking dish into freezer, along with a fork that you will use for scraping through mixture. Bring water to near boil in sauce pan. Remove from heat and drop infuser with loose tea leaves into the water. Allow tea to steep for 16 minutes. (follow the directions for the tea that you use) Remove infuser and place sauce pan back on burner on low heat. Stir in the blue agave syrup until it is dissolved, approximately 2 minutes. (You may use other sweeteners to your taste) Turn off heat, remove from burner. Allow mixture to cool to nearly room temperature. Pour into the rectangular baking dish that has been in freezer. Place back in the freezer for 1-1 1/2 hours. Every 20-30 minutes run freezing fork through the mixture to “scrape” it away from pan and break it up. Continue doing this for 2 1/2-3 hours until it has reached your desired consistency.