Sunday 29 May 2011
When summer arrives and the fruit is sweet, a granita is a better showcase thana sorbet – the sugar content needed is lower, so the fruit tastes more of itself.
1 kg/3lb ripe, sweet cherries
400g/13oz caster sugar
250ml/8fl oz water
Small pinch of sea salt
Squeeze of lemon juice
Wash the cherries and pat them dry, then remove the stems and stones. Tip the fruit into a food processor and purée until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
Place sugar and water in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the syrup has become slightly viscous. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
When cold, pour the syrup over the puréed cherries. Add the salt, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and stir well to combine. Pour into a shallow freeze-proof tray – the purée should be no more than 3cm thick. Cover and place in the freezer for an hour or so.
When the granita begins to set and has firmed up around the edges, remove from the freezer and use a fork to drag the frozen crystals from the edges towards the centre. Don't beat the mixture – a granita is meant to be icy and crunchy, not smooth like a sorbet.
Return to the freezer for a further 30 minutes or so, then repeat the procedure. Now freeze until set. Store in a covered plastic container in the freezer until ready to use. To serve, scrape shavings from the granita and pile into chilled glasses.
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