Nectarine granita is a semi-frozen dessert, perfect for a summer’s day. On a recent holiday with the kids on the NSW south coast, we picked up a tray of beautiful big nectarines from a road-side stall. We worked our way through most of them. The few remaining were a little squashed on the drive home, so I decided to make nectarine granita. I’ve served it up twice, once in little cups as a palate cleanser before cheese, and again in bowls with pomegranate arils and raspberries on top.
Did you know that granita originates from Sicily? Its literal translation is ‘Italian ice.’ It’s similar to sorbet, in because it’s made from the same three ingredients: fruit, sugar and water. However, it has a grainier texture, because it needs to be broken up into icy flakes as it freezes. Granita is derived from a sweet Arabic chilled drink called ‘sharbāt’ which was introduced to Sicily during Arab rule in the Middle Ages. It was once called ‘rattata’ (literally, ‘grated’). It was made by grating snow and ice from the mountains that was collected during winter, then stored in mountain caves. https://www.visitsicily.info/en/the-best-granita-in-the-world/
Granita is our favourite desert to make on beach holidays because of its simplicity. The kids like to get involved and they take turns scraping the ice in the metal tray. Other delicious flavours to try are mango and ginger, pineapple and mint, or watermelon and lime. Take a look at the recipe notes for suggestions for fruit syrups. Or, try the mango skin syrup in this recipe: https://atamandastable.com.au/mango-slices-wit…-and-lime-labneh/ What’s your favourite flavour of granita?
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- 8-10 nectarines
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- Begin making this dessert about three hours before you plan to eat it. It's better to freeze the mixture in two trays. If you use only one tray, the mixture will need more time to freeze.
- Cut the nectarines into chunks, reserving the stones (if they have a bit of flesh on them, use them in the fruit syrup).
- Combine the water, sugar and nectarine stones in small saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the mixture has thickened a little to a syrup.
- Strain the syrup through a sieve.
- Stir the syrup into the chopped nectarines, then blend to a smooth puree with a handheld mixer or in a blender. Pour the mixture into two shallow trays (lamington tins work well).
- Cover with foil and put in the freezer. After an hour, take out the granita and flake it with a fork. Repeat the process a couple of times. Take the granita out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving and flake it again with a fork. Serve the granita in bowls or glasses and top with furit if you wish.