As I mentioned in the green tea ice cream and peanut butter ice cream recipes, it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. Granted, it can be difficult to get a really creamy and smooth ice cream, but the lack of an ice cream maker doesn’t doom you to store-bought desserts.
Take granitas, for example. They’re an Italian frozen dessert, similar in texture to a snow cone, but you start with the flavoring instead of dumping it on top right before serving. A big benefit of granitas is that you don’t need any special equipment to make them. Just the freezer. They’re icy and crunchy, perfect for hot summer days.
I found the proportions for these granitas in Harold McGee’s The Curious Cook. He has an entire chapter devoted to fruit ices and the best proportions of fruit to sugar to water to create the right texture. (If you want to know how and why things work the way they do in the kitchen, I suggest you check out his book On Food and Cooking; it has all sorts of useful and fun information.)
But back to granitas. We had a large honeydew melon that was needing to be made into something, and granitas are something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, so I gave them a go.
- 2 cups pureed honeydew (about 3 cups chopped honeydew)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- Stir the water, lemon juice, and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honeydew puree and mix well. Pour into a large shallow dish and place in the freezer.
- Once ice crystals start forming along the edges, remove from the freezer and scrape the crystals back into the liquid. Return to the freezer. Check every half-hour and break up any ice crystals until completely slushy. Serve.
(Makes ~1 quart)
It will probably take a least a couple hours for the granita to freeze. It depends on how cold your freezer is and how large of a container you are using. Once the granita is slushy it can be frozen overnight, however it might need to sit out a little before serving.
The amount of sugar can be decreased to make a crunchier granita. The lemon adds just enough acidity to balance the sweetness. If you really want lemon flavor swap in another 1/4 cup of lemon juice and decrease the water by 1/4 cup.