Italian ice, aka granita, is a cool dessert for kids or sophisticates. Renee Comet /USA WEEKEND. Food Styling /Lisa Cherkasky.
This quenching fruit-ice is the ultimate summer delight. It takes a favorite seasonal fruit — watermelon — to frosty new heights with a zesty punch of lime, fresh mint leaves and just a touch of sugar.
It looks enticing with its green-flecked, stunning pink color. That hue comes from lycopene, a powerful antioxidant typically associated with tomatoes. Plus, melons are rich in vitamins A and C. For a twist, use cantaloupe or honeydew melon and substitute basil or cilantro for mint.
It’s a breeze to make: Just purée everything in a blender then freeze, scraping it with a fork about every half-hour, so the ice crystals stay small. Scoop the granita into a cone to make it kid-friendly or, for an elegant, grown-up dessert, serve it in a cocktail glass with a fresh herb garnish.
Watermelon, Lime and Mint Granita
• 9 cups (about 4 pounds with the rind) seeded and cubed watermelon
• 1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
• 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/3 cup sugar
Working in two batches, purée the watermelon in a food processor. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, forcing the liquid out with a wooden spoon. Discard the solids.
Combine the watermelon purée, mint, lime juice and sugar in a 9- by 13-inch metal pan. Place the mixture in the freezer, scraping it thoroughly with a fork every 20 to 30 minutes for about 2½ hours, until the granita resembles coarse crystals. Scrape one last time and spoon into parfait glasses or bowls. Top with a mint sprig.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Per serving (1 cup): 70 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium
Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger. Copyright by Ellie Krieger.