David's Recipe for No-Nonsense Lemon Granita

Granita is a classic. It is also probably the easiest to make of all frozen desserts. It becomes even easier when one eliminates the useless steps and the mystifications which appear in many recipes.

Dessert, Sicilian

  • 2-1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons)
  1. Turn your freezer up to its coldest setting.
  2. Vigorously stir the sugar vigorously into the water until most of it dissolves.
  3. Put the mixture into the freezer, in a thin metal vessel, to cool further while you are squeezing the lemons. If the lemon juice is already squeezed, add it to the sugar and water and stir again vigorously until all of the sugar dissolves. It won't take long, but it may be hard to see, because the lemon juice will keep the solution from being perfectly transparent.
  4. Check after an hour. There should be a thin layer of ice forming at the surface of the liquid around the edges of the pan. Using a fork, push the pieces of ice into the middle of the liquid, and then stir the liquid. Depending on how cold your freezer is, it may take longer to reach this stage.
  5. Always using a fork, always pushing the ice into the middle of the vessel, and always mixing the liquid afterwards, repeat this process about every 40 minutes. You will first have a liquid with some ice in it, which will quickly turn into a slush. The whole process will take several hours. (It takes about 6 hours in my freezer.)
  6. Put your serving glasses and spoons in the freezer to be well chilled.
  7. When the mixture of the consistency of thick but light mashed potatoes, it is ready to be served. Fine crystals will be visible.

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