Being a summer baby, the hot humid weather of northern Virginia is something that I’ve always loved. But when this busy summer turned my Saturday into an extravaganza of 2 outdoor birthday parties and 2 winery outings, it was hard to not shake my fist at the blazing sun, cursing it for my sunburn and blaming it for my dehydration... Because I’m sure the wine had nothing to do with that…
It really does feel like we are at the peak of this summer’s heat wave though. And after a long weekend spent mostly outdoors, I needed a bit of a refresher. So, as I generally do, I turned to frozen desserts to provide that. However, this time I did not settle on my go-to ice cream. I wanted something even simpler that did not require time spent at the stove and I found my answer at the end of the August chapter of the Canal House CooksEvery Day Cookbook.
Their recipe for pink lemonade granita sounded like the exact thing I was looking for. It takes only 5 ingredients and hardly 10 minutes of actual effort and in a few hours you’re left with something like the best sno-cone imaginable. The action of using a fork to flake apart the semi-frozen lemonade makes ice crystals that are super light and fluffy, providing a satisfying texture that I find to be lacking in popsicles. This particular version is intensely lemony which is almost too tart on its own, but when paired with softly whipped cream, the tanginess mellows out and the dessert becomes incredibly refreshing and addicting, just what this heat-wave calls for.
Pink Lemonade Granita
Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day
The recipe recommends using a blood orange to provide the “pink” element of the lemonade, but suggested a red grapefruit as a substitute if blood oranges are not to be found. I went with the grapefruit route and really liked that flavor addition, but next time I would probably add 2 more Tbs. of sugar since it was a pretty sour grapefruit. That adjustment is reflected in the recipe below.
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 6-8 lemons)
The juice of a red grapefruit
½ cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
¼ cup water
Softly whipped cream
Combine the zest, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, water and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the juice into a large, shallow, freezer-safe dish (I used a 13x9 inch pyrex with a lid) and place in the freezer.
After 1-2 hours when the liquid is in a semi-frozen state (like a slushy) take a fork and use the tines to scrape across the surface of the ice, creating loose crystals. Return the dish to the freezer until it is finished freezing, another 1-2 hours. Once frozen, scrape the ice with a fork again until there are no large chunks of ice remaining. Softly whip the cream and serve the granita in a chilled glass with the whipped cream dolloped on top. The granita will keep in the freezer, covered, for a week.