This icy dessert is all about fun. Is it a cocktail or a dessert? Chefs love to play tricks on food and diners. A granita couldn’t be easier to make, yet it’s a special-occasion food. Now, that’s my kind of dish. This also makes a refreshing palate cleanser between courses.
Granitas are as flavorful as ice creams, but they’re lighter, more refreshing, and easier to make — even easier than sorbet. Both sugar and alcohol lower the freezing point, keeping the mixture from freezing into a rock-hard block of ice. Too much of a good thing, however, and the liquid won’t freeze enough to scrape up into a granita or will melt too quickly when you serve it.
You can make granitas in so many wonderful flavors. Besides this one, some of my favorites are mixed berry, mango, and espresso. The last is lovely served in a tall glass, layered with slightly sweetened whipped cream. It’s a sweet ending to a meal that won’t weigh you down.
You don’t have to use your most expensive tequila for this, but do use a tequila you like well enough to drink. A fruity silver or white (clear) tequila, or the oak-aged, mellower añejo, will work well.–Joey Altman
Margarita Granita Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 11 H
- Makes 8 servings
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- 1. Heat the sugar with 2 1/2 cups water, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the tequila, lime and orange juices, and Cointreau until well mixed.
- 2. Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan or covered plastic container, and clear a flat space in the freezer for the pan. Freeze until slushy, about 3 hours, then break up the mixture by running the tines of a fork through it several times.
- 3. Repeat every 2 hours or so, until the granita is icy throughout, about 8 hours. (It will not freeze hard, as alcohol has a very low freezing temperature.) At the end, you will have piles of fine slivers of very flavorful ice that melt when they hit your tongue. Pack the granita loosely in a covered plastic container and freeze for up to 3 days.
- 4. To serve, scoop the granita into martini glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint, or mint leaves cut into thin ribbons, if desired. Serve quickly — it melts fast!
Margarita Granita Recipe © 2008 Joey Altman. Photo © 2008 Frankie Frankeny. All rights reserved.