Granita sorbet is a delectable frozen treat that you can make without any special equipment. Ice cream makers can cost upwards of forty dollars, which makes them too expensive for many casual dessert makers. Luckily, with the granita technique, you don’t need one! All you need to experiment with your own tasty, refreshing frozen desserts is a bit of time and a freezer. This article will teach you everything you need to know to make your first granita sorbet, and will give you tips for expanding your sorbet repertoire. The basic granita sorbet process is simple but versatile, so you can make a classic single-flavor sorbet like orange or lemon, or you can try out gourmet combinations like rum and peach, passionfruit and kiwi, or even chocolate, coconut and espresso! The next time you want a bright, fruity sorbet or an icy, rich, sweet indulgence, try making granita sorbet. It’s so easy and affordable, it just might become a year-round staple!
Equipment And Ingredients
To get started, let’s make a granita sorbet in a classic and enduring flavor: orange. This citrus treat requires just three ingredients, which makes it affordable, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. You’ll need three cups of orange juice, a quarter cup of maple syrup, and a dash of an orange liqueur like triple sec or cointreau. If you use fresh orange juice your granita sorbet will have a bit more pizzaz than if you use juice from a carton or bottle. To save time and effort but get the extra sparkle of fresh squeezed taste, I recommend squeezing one cup of juice yourself from fresh oranges, then stretching it with two cups of commercially produced O.J. You’ll also need a medium-sized bowl, a whisk, an a large, shallow baking dish that can fit in your freezer.
To make the juice mixture that will become your granita sorbet, pour your three cups of orange juice into the bowl. The juice will be the bulk of your dessert, which makes granita sorbet a healthy, natural alternative to commercially made frozen treats which are often packed with chemicals and preservatives. Whisk in your quarter cup of maple syrup into the juice to give the mixture added thickness and sweetness so that it will be thick and luscious. Then, drizzle one to two teaspoons of liqueur into the bowl and mix one more time. The liqueur not only adds complexity of flavor, but gives an important textural boost to your dish. The alcohol content keeps your granita sorbet from freezing too thoroughly, so that it stays scoopable and servable instead of becoming rock hard or overly icy. When your three ingredients are well mixed, put down your whisk and pour the mixture into your shallow baking dish.
Freezing your granita sorbet doesn’t require much skill, but it does require a bit of time. It will take between four and six hours for your sorbet to freeze to perfection, and you’ll need to check in on it regularly during that time. Every sixty minutes along the way, give the mixture a thorough stirring, then return it to the freezer. This will ensure that it freezes evenly so that there are no rock-hard chunks hiding in your sorbet. When your sorbet feels consistently frozen, you can stop stirring and dish it out to be enjoyed. It will stay at an ideal, firm but slightly slushy consistency for about three or four days. Because your homemade granita sorbet isn’t packed with the same stabilizers and chemical preservatives found in commercial ice creams, after four or five days it will start to get icy and harder to serve. The good news is that if this happens, there’s no need to throw it away: just melt the mixture in the pan, repeat the freezing and stirring process, and continue to enjoy your delicious treat.
Now that you’ve mastered the basic format of granita sorbet, it’s time to let your imagination and creativity run loose. Try different combinations of juices and liquers. For a light sorbet, try coconut milk with rum, or for an intense, sophisticated taste pair blackberry juice with sultry framboise liquer. For a slushier mixture, throw in a pinch of sea salt. Try working with fresh fruit, pureeing a portion of the flesh in your blender to serve as the “juice,” and cutting a portion into tiny chunks that you can mix in at the start of the freezing process to make your sorbet a truly refreshing dessert with an added dash of fruit. For a culinary adventure, try a bit of chopped fresh tarragon with persimmon juice, or add a handful of fresh peppermint leaves to a lemon sorbet. Since granita sorbet is so easy to make, you have nothing to lose by trying something new!