Recipe: cherry granita
I’m up to my elbows in swag, random dishes, glassware, and food styling props. Our great room looks like a warehouse as we get ready to host the food photography and styling workshop next week. I’ll do my best to post about all of the great people and fun stuff we’re doing, but… someone’s gotta drive the bus! And it’s hard to drive and shoot at the same time, see.
Summer is here and it has punched me full on in the face. Yeow. I have some friends who love the heat. [No wonder he was the perfect companion to go shoot Death Valley with me.] The benefit of a “dry” heat is that the shade can be quite pleasant. So we found a compromise earlier this week when we went to Pica’s Boulder for lunch and Jason was all, “Ooh! Let’s eat out on the patio!” Mine keen eyes scanned out the only corner of shade covering a third of a table. That’s where I parked myself while Jason happily roasted under the sun like a big chicken slowly turning golden brown.
tacos al pastor – zomgodelicious
Any recipe you see here that involves the application of heat to food was prepared at least two weeks ago, because I’m nearing that state where I am perfectly happy to sit down and eat cold watermelon for dinner until my tummy becomes a giant water(melon) balloon. When it’s really hot, my mind locks onto a few key items: ice, raw fruit, raw vegetables, cold water, iced tea, sushi. The marriage of fruit and ice is especially comforting since I am intolerant of ice cream (well, lactose).
cherries are in season
luscious, deep reds
I had tested a so-called cherry granita recipe earlier and it wound up being a cherry sorbet of sorts. Not what I was looking for and a heck of a lot of trouble to boot. This recipe is quite straightforward with the fruit front and center – the way I wanted it to be.
into the blender
The steps are essentially: pit the cherries, pulse them with some simple syrup, stir in the rest of the simple syrup, some lemon juice to taste (don’t omit the lemon juice, I find it really brings out the cherry flavor) and a pinch of salt, then freeze and scrape… freeze and scrape. In summer we always have a jar (or two) of simple syrup in the refrigerator for cocktails. It’s a 1:1 sugar to water ratio that is stirred until the sugar dissolves and boiled for a minute, then cooled. Easy peasy. Last month while we were in California, I saw simple syrup on sale at Trader Joe’s. This puzzled me to no end, but then again – I see bottled water for sale too. I think if they branded it as complicated syrup, then perhaps it wouldn’t seem so strange to sell it?
pour the purée into a shallow baking dish and freeze
scrape every 30 minutes
If you add booze to the mix (that first recipe I tried had a cup of white wine which should have been my first clue) you won’t get the icy crystal texture characteristic of a granita. You’ll get a smooth sorbet like this one. If you want the icy crystals AND the booze, you can always sprinkle (or for some people douse) the finished granita with a spirit of your choice. As for me, I’m perfectly happy with the pure fruity goodness of this cherry granita. It cools me off, isn’t too heavy, and tastes of sweet, sweet summer.
to be enjoyed in surroundings that induce lounging
from Recipes from Durango, Colorado
1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted*
3/4 cup simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water ratio, heated until sugar dissolves, boil a few minutes, then cool)
pinch of salt
1-2 tsps lemon juice, fresh
*Note: pitting cherries can happen in one of many ways. If you own a cherry pitter, that’s a no-brainer. If you don’t, you can use a straw (I used a metal straw, but I implore you to clean it out completely and make sure there are no cherry plugs stuck inside or else later things could get… gross), or a pairing knife like I did this time around.
Purée the cherries and half of the simple syrup in a blender. Stir in the remaining simple syrup, salt, and lemon juice (to taste). Pour the contents into a shallow baking dish and set in the freezer. Use a fork to scrape the contents every 30 minutes until it is frozen and resembled shaved ice. Serves 4-6.