Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dessert for the heatwave....lemon and mint granita

(image from here).

It's hot hot hot here right now, and it looks like the heatwave is going to be hanging around here for a while. Mid thirties temperatures are predicted most days over the coming week. Fortunately we are not in the hottest part of the state, but these hot northerly winds aren't much fun anywhere.

So we are trying to avoid use of the stove and oven as much as possible, other than in the later evening when things cool off a bit. And I have been busy making icy treats. I have just made some ice-cubes with bits of fruit frozen into them (strawberries and grapes are good) for afternoon tea rehydration.

And for dessert, lemon and mint granita. This is such an easy dessert to make, although it's not something you can throw together at the last minute. You need to start making this the night before you want to eat it, but that works well because you can put it on the stove after dinner and then freeze it overnight and all of the following day.

This recipe says it makes enough for 8 people, we fed 6 of us with it last night and I think there might be around a third of it left for tonight. I've checked out a few recipes for it online and I like this one the best because once it's made you just put it in the freezer and leave it alone for 24 hours. Some recipes make you scrape it every hour or so, but who can be bothered doing that?

This recipe is also great if you have a flourishing supply of mint in your garden. I've made it without the mint before, but it really does add an extra layer of refreshment if you do include it.

So, here it is:

Lemon and Mint Granita (it's originally from the cookbook Slow Food by chef Jared Ingersoll)

1 litre (4 cups) water
320g (1 1/2 cups) white or caster sugar
1 bunch mint
200mL lemon juice (I made it using the juice from 2 lemons and 1 lime because we had a few limes to use up)
extra shredded mint for garnish

1. Put water and sugar in a saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil. Once boiled, remove from heat, add mint and lemon juice and allow to cool completely.

2. Strain liquid through a sieve to remove solids, then taste the syrup (it should taste slightly too sweet or lemony).

3. Pour into a container (I used a loaf tin, this makes it easier to fluff up with a fork when you take it out of the freezer the next day). Freeze for at least 24 hours.

4. Use a fork to fluff up the surface of the granita. Serve in chilled glasses, garnished with extra mint.


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