If making frozen treats is on your summer bucket list and you've had a long list of excuses — no time, no ice cream maker, or no Popsicle molds — let me introduce you to granita. Granita is a frozen fruit dessert made from fresh fruit and water, blended and frozen until icy, flaked with a fork and frozen again. The result is a delightfully crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth fruit ice, perfect eating all on its own. When served on everything from yogurt to cocktails, it becomes a complete game-changer.
This three-ingredient dessert can be made with any fruit in nearly any kitchen. Here are the basics you'll need to know for making granita with any fruit at home.
How to Make Granita from Any Fruit
You can make granita in a whole range of flavors from coffee to traditional Italian lemon, but during the summer, we go for whatever fruit is in season. Peach, strawberry, blackberry — whatever looks the best!
What Is Granita?
Granita is an Italian frozen dessert very similar to sorbet, except that it's made by hand instead of in a machine. Because of this, the texture of granita is coarser and flakier — like eating snow! It's briefly crunchy at the first spoonful and then melts deliciously in your mouth.
The exact recipe for the granita base can vary depending on how ripe your fruit is, how sweet or sour it is, and how much liquid it holds. Here's the basic formula we follow.
- 4 cups cubed fruit: You'll need about 1 1/2 pounds of fruit total.
- 1/4 cup flavorful liquid: Lemon and lime are the standard, but you can use liquor or wine or kombucha here. Pick something with a little acidity that balances the fruit's sweetness.
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar: You can add more or less depending on the sweetness of your fruit.
- A pinch of salt or spice: This is optional, but always a good idea.
Making granita is so easy, you might not believe it. So here's the proof, play by play.
- Whiz up the fruit! In a blender or food processor, purée the fruit with the juice and sugar. If your fruit is particularly dry, add a few tablespoons of water until the purée is about the thickness of a smoothie.
- Freeze in a flash. Pour the fruit purée into a shallow pan for freezing. I find granita freezes faster in a metal pan, so I reach for my 9x13 cake pan, but use what you've got. Freeze the granita for 30 to 45 minutes, until it's just started to freeze on the top and sides of the pan.
- Fork the granita. Scrape the partially frozen granita with the tines of a fork, breaking up any large chunks. You'll repeat this step two or three times over the course of freezing.
- Freeze again before serving. Return the granita pan to the freezer for a total of 4 hours before serving. That's it!
Once frozen, you can enjoy your granita straight up or with a dollop of whipped cream. Or you can spoon it over yogurt for breakfast or top freshly grilled watermelon or peaches with the frozen mixture. One of my favorite granita memories is having icy-cold cups of strawberry granita served with a little pitcher of tequila for pouring over at the last minute.
How To Make Granita with Any Fruit
Makes 6 (1-cup) servings
What You Need
cubed fruit, such as seedless watermelon, strawberries, or peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
Yogurt, for serving (optional)
- For the sugared lime zest topping (optional):
finely grated lime zest (from 1 lime)
red pepper flakes
Measuring cups and spoons
Blender or food processor
Shallow metal baking pan, such as 9x13-inch
Blend the fruit, juice, and sugar. Combine the fruit, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Purée until smooth, about 1 minute.
Freeze the purée in a shallow pan for 30 minutes. Pour the purée into a 9x13-inch metal pan. The purée should be about 1/2 inch deep, although it's OK if the purée is deeper; it will just take longer to freeze. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Scrape the granita with a fork and freeze again. Take the pan out of the freezer. The purée should have begun to freeze, especially around the edges and top. Scrape the mixture with a fork and return to the freezer. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for a total of 4 hours. The granita is done when the mixture is completely frozen and appears dry and flaky in texture.
Make the topping (optional). Stir the sugar, lime zest, and pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.
Scoop into bowls and serve. Scoop the granita into bowls alone or with yogurt. Top with sugared lime zest mixture if using.
Make ahead: Granita can be made 1 week ahead, covered, and stored in the freezer. Scrape again before scooping into bowls for serving.