This is probably the simplest recipe ever. You just use grape juice straight from the container and pop it into the freezer. The sugar content of the juice is correct without making any additions.
Granitas have a method of freezing all their own. The aim is to achieve an ice of uniform consistency made up of large, flavored ice crystals not dissimilar in size to rice grains. To achieve uniformity in the small, separate ice crystals throughout, the liquid will need beating at regular intervals during freezing. This may seem like a lot of hassle, but it is not. (You may have read recipes telling you to break the moisture up in a food processor once it has gone solid. Of course you can do this, but the consistency will become too fine, like a very icy sorbet, rather than the rougher texture of a true granita.) To achieve the perfect granita, there is no substitute for the fork technique, which is explained in the recipe below.–Caroline and Robin Weir
LC Easy Street Note
As with most things in life, there’s an easy street approach to this recipe, which you’ll find below, and a not-so-easy street way of going about it, which involves spending a small fortune on fresh and only intermittently available Concord grapes, pressing the juice from the skins, and then simmering it with sugar, cooling it, and then getting on with the granita making. We’re not down with the latter approach. Not at all. We just want to be clear about your options. We also want to be clear about how we’re swooning to Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelati, the collection of recipes and historical anecdotes wherein we happened upon this recipe. It’s a keeper.
Concord Grape Granita
- 2 cups Welch’s Grape Juice
- Simply pour the juice straight into a shallow cake pan approximately 10 inches square. You want the juice to yield a depth of 3/4 inch. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and freeze for 1 hour, or until the liquid has formed an iced rim around the edges and is starting to freeze on the base.
- Using a fork, scrape the icy edge of the pan and combine this evenly with the remaining unfrozen juice. Repeat this scraping and mixing process every 30 minutes for a total of 3 hours, or until the mixture forms a smooth consistency of identifiable ice crystals. Ideally the granita should be eaten at once, but it can be held at a good consistency for up to 2 to 3 days if stirred once or twice a day to break up any clumps of ice crystals that form, especially around the edges.
Concord Grape SorbetTo make sorbet, combine 3 cups Welch’s Concord Grape Juice with 1 cup Simple Syrup and the lemon juice to taste (start with the juice of ½ lemon and then taste and adjust accordingly). Cover and refrigerate until chilled through. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to the instructions. Serve within an hour of churning or transfer it to a resealable container and freeze, then allow 30 minutes in the fridge to soften sufficiently before serving.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is the essence of inspired simplicity. I’ve a difficult time getting my son to drink juice, but he wouldn’t stop gobbling this up. I’d love to know if anyone tried it with other juices and/or if it’d work?
I made the grape sorbet variation and it was wonderful, full of intense grape flavor. I think I’ll try this with other flavors of juice—so easy, so inexpensive, so good. If you want a creamy sorbet, serve this soon after making it. We tried to save the leftovers and found that they made a great, intense Italian ice the next day.
The hardest part of this recipe is setting the timer to remind you to stir every so often. It’s simple to make but does take time to keep the ice crystals moving around. I used a 9-by-11-inch baking pan. This recipe will make 4 nicely sized servings or 6 smaller servings. I also made this using white grape peach juice and we loved that flavor even better. Your granita is only limited to the flavors of juice you like.
Wow—this is easy, beautiful, and a happy surprise, all in one terrific sorbet. I confess I went with Trader Joe’s Concord Grape Juice instead of Welch’s, and it worked just fine. I made homemade simple syrup from the recipe on the site. I used the full lemon. I cooled it to room temperature, but was a bit too impatient to wait for it to completely chill in the fridge. After the sorbet had been processed in the ice cream maker, I served it right away, then again the next day, and then after one week. After the first day, it did need to soften a bit before serving, and it easily kept for the full week. Coincidentally, I ate at Nana, one of the Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Chicago, the weekend after I made this sorbet, and they had Concord Grape Sorbet on their menu. They served 3 scoops with seedless red grapes and blueberries on the side and a sprinkling of diced Bartlett pears atop. These fresh fruits perfectly complemented the sorbet, and added color and texture variation to the plate. The depth of color and flavor seem perfectly suited to these crisp and cool fall days. Note, grapes are on the Environmental Working Group’s 2012 Dirty Dozen list, so the next time I make this, I’ll likely try it with an organic juice.
I made this with my 12-year-old great niece. She loved it and quickly suggested we try this with other flavors of juice. This is easy to make and delicious to eat. We made a double batch in a larger pan, which of course took a little longer to get to the perfectly icy stage. We scooped it out into 1/2-cup servings, but if you’re like us you’ll end up each devouring 1-cup servings instead. It was a delicious ending to our family cookout. I can see this being added to our go-to desserts for summer. It was a little on the tart side but so refreshing.
Originally published November 02, 2012