May 14, 2008

Strawberry-Basil Granita




Ingredients:
4 cups fresh, whole strawberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup (loose) fresh basil

Directions:
Bring the water, sugar and basil to boil in a medium sauce pan. Boil, stirring occasionally until it reduces slightly and thickens to a light syrup. Strain and cool. Add to strawberries and blend until smooth in a blender. Pour mixture into 13x9 metal pan. Place in the freezer and freeze for 20 minutes. Rake any frozen areas with a fork, return to freezer for 20 minutes, then rake again. Re-freeze for 30 minutes, then rake with a fork before serving. It should look flaky and granular-not frozen solid. Store any leftovers in a freezer safe air-tight container in the freezer.

My thoughts:

I love making granita* because not only is it quick and easy (no ice cream maker required) but it is a great way to use up fruit that is on the urge of going bad. I had rather a lot of strawberries leftover from cupcake making and there was no way the two of us were going to be able to eat them before they spoilt. Enter the granita. It took about 5 minutes to mix together and now I have a fruit-packed, slightly herbal frozen treat that will keep longer in the freezer than the berries would have on my counter. The strawberries are fresh tasting and the basil keeps it from being too sweet.



*The difference between sorbet and granita is mostly a matter of technique. Sorbets are churned using a gelato or ice cream maker and the granita has a coarser texture as a result of being frozen in a sheet and raked with a fork. Sorbets can also contain egg whites (although not milk, that would make it sherbet) and granitas are a strickly a water-sugar-flavor affair.