Do you prefer your summer refreshment on a stick or on a spoon? As you will guess from the picture, I’ll pick the spoon any time. Granita must be my favourite icy summer treat. It’s light, crisp and full-flavoured and there’s just nothing like the feeling of those flaky crystals melting on your tongue with every wonderful spoonful. And as granita is very easy to make – no special equipment needed, all you need is a freezer and a fork – you can focus entirely on picking the flavours that will make your palate sing. Like the ones in my mint-infused cucumber and lime granita. And like the delicious combination of raspberries, prosecco and mint in this raspberry granita.
As you’ll see, the list of ingredients for this one is quite short. Not much is needed, as the ingredients work so well together. The base for the granita is fresh raspberry purée, with a dash of lemon juice and sweetened with agave syrup. This mixture has a surprisingly deep raspberry flavour that’s already delicious on its own. The prosecco adds a wonderful, delicate flavour and turns it into a sophisticated, grown up treat. I heat the prosecco before adding it to the fruit juice to make the alcohol evaporate. This is partly to make the granita suitable for children, as my girls love it too, but also to make sure the granita will freeze properly, because alcohol can interfere with the freezing process. As the hot prosecco needs to cool before you can put the fruit mixture into the freezer, this is an easy opportunity to add a last layer of flavour. Steeping fresh mint in the prosecco while it cools down turns the resulting raspberry granita into the most refreshing summer treat imaginable.
Now simply put the fruit mixture in the freezer. Using a wide, shallow container will help to make the liquid freeze more quickly. Once the edges start to freeze, use a fork to break up the crystals and return the tub to the freezer. Repeat this every hour or so, until your granita is crisp and flaky. Don’t worry if you happen to have missed a few stirring rounds and the juice has frozen into a solid block of ice – simply let it soften on your work top a bit until you can get your fork in again and repeat the process.
In my experience, though, freezing too quickly is less often an issue than its opposite. Depending on the capacity of your freezer, the time needed to get to that crisp, solidly frozen granita can vary considerably, taking as little as 4 hours, to up to 8-12 hours. I can tell you, having to pray for your freezer to perform a last-minute miracle around the moment you were actually planning to serve your icy treat takes away a lot of the fun. So these days, if I intend to make granita for a special occasion, I save myself the worries and simply make it a day ahead. Once frozen in small scraped clusters of ice, it keeps perfectly in the freezer and will be just as easy to scoop out to serve as it was when you just prepared it.
With its delicate flavour, this raspberry granita is equally suitable as a dinner party dessert as it is for spooning up all by yourself, responsibly socially distanced under a summer tree. And if your answer to the opening question wasn’t the spoon, you can also choose to omit the crystallizing process and simply freeze the fruit mixture in popsicle moulds instead.
Happy summer days!
Raspberry granita with prosecco and mint – serves 4-6
- 500 g raspberries, fresh or defrosted
- 250 ml prosecco
- small bunch of fresh mint
- 120 ml agave syrup
- 50 ml water
- juice of 1 lemon
Tip de raspberries into the mixing bowl of a food processor and whizz until mashed. Pour the raspberry purée into a fine-mesh sieve and place it over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, rub the purée through the sieve, pressing out as much of the juice as you can. Discard the seeds.
Pour the prosecco into a saucepan and bring to a soft boil. Simmer for a moment to let the alcohol evaporate, then take the pan off the heat. Add the mint sprigs. Leave the prosecco to cool to room temperature while the mint is infusing.
Remove the mint leaves, then mix the prosecco with the raspberry juice, agave syrup, water and lemon juice.
Pour the raspberry mixture into a shallow freezer container and freeze for 30-60 minutes, until ice crystals start forming around the edges. Break up the crystals with a fork and return to the freezer. Repeat every 30-60 minutes, for as long as needed for the granita to be completely frozen and made of loose, airy crystals. If at some point the granita freezes too hard to get your fork in, simply let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes, scrape it into crystals again and return to the freezer.
Serve in small bowls, garnished with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.