Strawberry Mint Granita

straw_granita

Fresh mint and a drizzle of balsamic glaze add a sophisticated touch to this granita. photo: Abigail Weber

Enjoying an icy cold popsicle on a hot summer day is undoubtedly one of the great joys of youth. What child of the seventies doesn’t recall fondly the electric kaleidoscope of
Fla Vor Ice and Bomb Pops? Alas, we all grow up sometime. And to that I say, why should children have all the fun? Keep the good times rolling with granita, the adult’s version of the popsicle. All you really need to make this refreshing treat is fresh fruit, a hit of sugar, a blender, a freezer, and a fork. I chose to use the wild strawberries from my CSA share this week, along with garden grown mint. After blending it all together with sugar syrup, I simply froze it and fluffed with a fork periodically throughout the morning. The result was a deeply flavored, and utterly cooling dessert. Pour in a shot or two of booze to make this a truly adult concoction, a hit at summer parties. Or top it off, as I did, with a drizzle of balsamic glaze to give it a tangy high note and a sophisticated finish.

Makes about 4 cups

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh mint
5 cups small wild strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed and hulled
Juice of one lime
Balsamic glaze, for serving

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a blender and add the mint while the sugar syrup is still hot. This will infuse the syrup with the minty flavor. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the strawberries and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  3. Pass the strawberry mixture through a sieve into a bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon to push as much of the liquid through the sieve, while leaving the seeds behind. Make sure the sieve is not too fine, or you will be there all day. You should wind up with between 3 1/2 to 4 cups of liquid after straining. Discard the seeds.
  4. Pour the mixture into a non-reactive (that is, not metal) shallow dish and place in the freezer for 45 minutes. Remove from the freezer and, using a fork, scrape the granita to break up and distribute the ice crystals that have formed in that time. Return immediately to the freezer. Continue to freeze the granita for 2 more hours, removing it from the freezer to scrape the ice crystals every 30 minutes (four more times). Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving, re-fluff with a fork and serve with mint leaves and balsamic glaze. Keep, covered, in the freezer.

Nutritional analysis based on 8 servings, does not include balsamic glaze:
Calories 81, Fat 0g, Sodium 2mg, Carbohydrate 20g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 17g, Protein 1g

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