Suddenly, everyone is talking about fall. It’s still August, people! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It feels like a swamp outside! Hold off on those pumpkin spice lattes for a few more weeks. Let’s eat some granita instead. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Basil and grapefruit work so well together, we’re kind of surprised we hadn’t already tried this combination. When coming up with this basil-grapefruit granita recipe, we chose to make them separately and layer them together so that the flavors would be crisp and distinct yet complementary. It’s like ordering an ice cream cone with two scoops in two different flavors – the best of both worlds!
For the Basil Granita:
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Water
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
4 oz Dry Gin
Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds, then strain them out and plunge them into ice water. Let them rest in the ice water for at least a minute. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the sugar syrup and basil leaves to a blender and blend the basil leaves to a pulp. Strain out the pulp, squeezing out at much syrup as possible. (This should give you about a cup and a half of liquid.) Add the gin and then pour everything into a 9×9 baking pan. Freeze the mixture until the edges begin to set, then use a fork to scrape, breaking up the frozen sections into light flakes. Freeze, scraping and breaking up mixture every 60-90 minutes, until it resembles fluffy shaved ice, about 2–4 hours.
For the Grapefruit Granita:
1 cup Grapefruit Juice
1 cup White Sugar
4 oz Grapefruit Vodka
Thinly peel two pink or ruby grapefruits, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith under the peel. Place them in a bowl and cover with the sugar, muddling to release the peel’s oils. Set this aside while you juice the two grapefruits, straining out the pulp. Add the grapefruit juice to the sugar and remove the peels, squeezing out as much sugar and oil as you can. Pour the mix into a saucepan and heat very gently, stirring frequently – you want to melt the sugar but not cook the grapefruit juice. Once the sugar is melted, add the vodka and pour the mix into another baking pan. Follow the same steps as above to freeze and fluff up the granita.
Once all that is done, add the basil and grapefruit granitas to a bowl or glass (ours are technically shrimp cocktail glasses but work perfectly for granitas!) in alternating layers for a gorgeous effect. Because alcohol has a lower freezing temperature, adding this much booze to your granita will leave your granita a little slushier than usual, so we recommend sticking your glass into the freezer before you serve so that your granita will stay solid longer. Dig in with and enjoy!
Sweet, tart, herbaceous…delicious. And cold. Just what we need right now.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper