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Desserts
aug 29, 2020

Grape Granita

Granitas are so easy to make. Fruit juice or purée is sweetened, then scraped and scraped (and scraped) with a fork as it gradually freezes. Your reward for all the scraping is blissfully fluffy, crunchy crystals that melt on your tongue into an icy sweet drinkable dessert.
Granitas span the range of food fanciness. Eat them by the cupful, or serve as a palate cleanser at a multi-course meal or for grownup cocktails in ice crystal form. Offer a margarita or Aperol spritz granita at your next gathering and see what happens! Espresso granita is excellent, and you can make savory versions, too.
In Italy, we've piled our granitas with whipped cream (wow!), but at home we usually eat them unadorned, sometimes from a froufrou bar glass for fun. They are also nice with vanilla or crème fraîche ice cream, and with berries or sliced fruit. You could serve this grape version with peanut butter cookies for a cheeky PB&J twist. An all Concord granita will be darker purple than the one shown above - we used a mix of Thomcord and red table grapes, and it tasted great!
Recipe for success:
  • Enlist assistance - young kitchen helpers make superb scrapers.
  • Don't stray far from the recommended sugar/fruit ratio. Remember: frozen things taste less sweet than those at room temp. And go easy on the alcohol, as it inhibits freezing. Using a recipe from a trusted source is a good idea, or be willing to experiment (a cocktail slushy is not the worst thing in the world, after all)!
  • Scrape efficiently. The longer the granita lingers outside the freezer, the longer it will take to form those ice crystals.
  • A metal dish speeds freezing, but plastic, Pyrex and ceramic will work, too. The container's sides should be at least 1½ inches tall to hold the ice crystals, which fluff each time you scrape.
  • Here's a helpful guide for how to make granita without a recipe.
Tag us with #TCKatHome, or email us to tell us how your granita making is going.
Recipe

Concord Grape Granita

Author Jen Nurse

If you can't find Concord grapes, substitute other strongly-flavored grapes like Muscat or other wine-making types; milder "table grapes" like supermarket green and red varieties are wonderful for eating out of hand, but won't work as well in this recipe.

Yield   8 to 12 servings (about 1 quart)

Ingredients

1 cup/200g/7 oz sugar

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons/200g/7 oz water

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 kg/2.2 lbs seedless* Concord grapes, stems removed

1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Place a granita chilling vessel** in a nice, flat spot in your freezer.
Make a simple syrup: Stir the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves fully and the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the salt and set aside.
Process the grapes in a blender until the skins are reduced to mere flecks. Strain through a fine meshed sieve, scraping the purée through the mesh to force every bit of liquid through. Discard the solids left in the strainer.
Add lemon juice and more simple syrup to the grape purée to suit your taste. Bear in mind that freezing dulls our perception of sugar, so a little extra sweetness is called for. Refrigerate extra simple syrup in an airtight container for up to a month.
Freeze the purée in the chilled container. After 30 minutes, use the tines of a fork to scrape the frozen crystals into the center of the dish, breaking up any ice chunks. Continue to freeze, scraping every 30 minutes, until the granita is granular and fully frozen, 3 to 4 hours. Spoon into chilled bowls to serve.

Notes

*If your grapes have seeds, blending them would make a bitter granita. Instead, halve and cook them with 1 cup of simple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until liquidy and their skins soften. Force them through a food mill or a fine meshed strainer. Discard the seeds and skins.
**A 9-X-12-inch metal cake pan, or other container of similar volume, is ideal. 1½- to 2-inch sides work well to contain the ice crystals as they are scraped and fluffed.