Make us your home page
Instagram

In Our Kitchen: Cool off with watermelon granita

It's sweaty out there, whew. Jeans are getting pushed to the back of the closet. No pants till September. If, like me, you're looking for an excuse to stick your head in the freezer, the answer is granita. Gra-ni-ta! That's the Italian name for this icy dessert, and you can flavor it pretty much any way you like.

This one tastes intensely of sweet, fresh watermelon enhanced with liqueur and black pepper. We think it's pretty spot-on and we've looked forward to it for dessert each night this week. Watermelon granita hits the spot when your apartment's AC has given all it can give, and it's time to find other ways to keep cool.

And, it only takes a few hours. Granita can be made in all kinds of flavors but what could be more refreshing than icy watermelon? Watermelon is in season and plentiful right now, and this recipe is well worth the effort of breaking one down.

I used a watermelon that weighed almost 6 pounds to get just over the 2 pounds of melon needed. Granita can be made a few days ahead. Keep it covered with plastic wrap in the freezer and scrape again before serving.

Black pepper may seem like an odd pairing with watermelon, but it adds a subtle touch of savory to the sweet melon. I loved the combination. The original recipe called for Muscat but I didn't have any and wasn't about to let that stop me from making this granita. I used St. Germain elderflower liqueur, which is also fairly sweet and has a similar proof.

Ileana Morales is a writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with fiance Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, alittlesaffron.com. Contact her at alittlesaffron@gmail.com.

>>Easy

Watermelon and Black Pepper Granita

2 pounds watermelon, rind and seeds removed, coarsely chopped

½ cup sugar

¼ cup elderflower liqueur, Muscat or other sweet dessert wine

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus coarsely ground for serving

Puree watermelon, sugar, liqueur and black pepper in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and freeze mixture until edges begin to set, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Use a fork to scrape mixture and break up frozen sections. Freeze, scraping and breaking up ice every 30 minutes, until mixture resembles fluffy shaved ice. This can take 2 to 4 hours. Serve granita in a small glass with coarsely ground black pepper on top.

Granita can be made 3 days ahead. Keep covered with plastic wrap in the freezer and scrape again before serving. If you'd rather not use alcohol, you can omit the liqueur from the recipe.

Serves about 8.

Source: This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit.

In Our Kitchen: Cool off with watermelon granita 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 6:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Equality Florida leader honored at Tampa U2 concert

    Briefs

    TAMPA — Equality Florida director Nadine Smith couldn't attend last week's U2 concert in Tampa, but she can tell you which of her friends had great seats for the June 14 show at Raymond James Stadium.

    Nadine Smith, Equality Florida founder and CEO, received a unique distinction last week when U2 included her in a montage of photos saluting activism and women leaders.
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 23

    Events

    Leslie Odom Jr.: A solo concert by the Broadway star who won a Tony for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. 7 p.m., Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35.50-$55.50. (813) 229-7827.

    Leslie Odom Jr. accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in "Hamilton"  during the 70th Annual Tony Awards  on June 12, 2016.  (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
  3. Han Solo movie now in the hands of ... Ron Howard?

    Blogs

    Dear god, I love Ron Howard movies. All of them. Especially Cocoon and Night Shift in the '80s. Particularly The Paper, which is the most accurate comedy I've seen about the newspaper biz. And even Rush, which I was sad to learn was not about the band but instead about Formula 1 …

  4. Take your vacation! Being a work martyr doesn't help

    Travel

    The traditional start of the summer vacation season always produces vacation-themed reports. This year's theme is "vacation shaming."

    This year’s theme is “vacation shaming,” the common workplace condition when employees leave paid vacation time unused because they’re afraid to take time off.
  5. Celebrate Pride with this playlist of LGBTQ musicians

    Essays

    I first came out over a decade ago, early in the torments of middle school and deep in the cornfields of suburban Indiana. To say I was lacking classmates who were out and local queer role models — let alone national ones — feels like an understatement. The school and public libraries offered few LGBTQ …

    Tegan and Sara perform during Splendour in the Grass 2016 on July 24, 2016, in Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)