Southern Strawberry Lemonade Granita
Strawberry season is in full swing here in North Carolina, and what better way to showcase this magnificent berry but with Southern Strawberry Lemonade Granita, an Italian frozen dessert with a Southern flair.
Travel down just about any rural road in the great state of North Carolina in late April to early May and you are bound to run into a roadside stand selling scrumptious strawberries, or at the very least a sign that will point you in the right direction. If you’ve never experience a berry not bought in a plastic shell in a grocery store, you are truly missing out. Farm fresh, hand picked strawberries are some of the most flavorful and sweet berries you’ll ever have the pleasure to experience and berries from North Carolina are no exception.
A terrific way to showcase the wonderful natural sweetness of these berries is a refreshing granita. Never heard of a granita, no problem, they’re a cinch to make. Basically a granita is a sorbet without the fancy equipment, think Italian Ice. I spent countless warm weather nights as a child walking the dangerous edge between enjoying my Italian ice and suffering the consequences of brain freeze. Your traditional flavor of Italian Ice is lemon, which is essentially frozen lemonade and you can’t get much more Southern than a fresh batch of lemonade. Take some fresh North Carolina hand picked strawberries and puree into some lemon juice, water and sugar and then freeze it. Viola, Strawberry Lemonade Granita.
- 3.5 cup water purified or natural spring
- 5 ounces lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 8 ounces sugar
- 1.5 pounds strawberries fresh picked, washed and topped
Place all ingredients into a blender (or pitcher and blend with stick blender) and blend until smooth. Then pour mixture into a glass pyrex type baking dish with a depth no deeper than a half inch. Separate into two pans if need be, and place on a level spot in the freezer. Now the work begins. Every half hour to forty five minutes take a fork and scrape the partially frozen sides of the mixture to the middle of the baking dish. At this time you want to break up the larger chunks as much as you desire. The more into the freezing step of the process, the larger the chunks will be and the more you will want to break them down. A pastry cutter might assist you in this as it did for me. Unconventional, yes. Effective, very. Ashamed, no. After a couple of hours or so and a few returns to the freezer, your grantia should be sufficiently frozen and slushy. Now you have a choice to make. If you want the granita to be a bit more supple and slushy, serve now. Want it to be a bit more frozen and granular, keep freezing and scrapping, that is, if you have the willpower. Whatever you decide it's going to be worth it. Once you reach the desired consistency, scoop into your chosen stemware, garnish with mint or a quarter slice lemon, serve and enjoy.