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it’s getting hawt in here

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.

not recommended

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.

simple syrup

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

Cherry Granita
[print recipe]
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.

37 nibbles at “it’s getting hawt in here”

  1. Memoria says:

    What a lovely, cute photo. I’m actually glad there’s no alcohol in this recipe. That means I can make it! haha

  2. Krissy says:

    simple. beautiful. delicious!

  3. Rosa says:

    That granita is wonderful and those tacos look so scrumptious!



  4. Wei-Wei says:

    Does the simple syrup have to be included? I would rather not have it too sweet :( But I think I definitely will be making this with some sort of fruit, sometime within the next two days. Thanks! The colour is lovely… and I love that first photo. I heart long exposure ;)


  5. I8INDY says:

    I’m a sucker for tacos al pastor. Nice looking cherries. I just picked up my first bag the other day.

  6. Susan @ SGCC says:

    The granita looks fab! What a lovely color! I’m just starting to see fresh cherries in the markets here. time to clear out some room in the freezer.

  7. foodhoe says:

    I’ve never seen cherry granita, it sounds so refreshing! And those tacos look so spicy good…

  8. Sarah says:

    I have a silly question – is it difficult to pit cherries? I feel like I would make a mess of them.
    This looks great – hope to try it soon.

  9. Shaheen says:

    The cherry granita looks so delicious! Too bad we didn’t get a good crop of cherries this year. And to top that they are much tinier.

    Sarah: It’s not difficult if you have a cherry pitter, just time consuming. If you don’t have a pitter you could use a straw.

  10. Anna says:

    Mmmm…that looks lovely. I’ve been craving ice cream every day this month and this weekend my local cherry farm opens for picking, so definitely will be putting this recipe to use :D

  11. DessertForTwo says:

    Wow! I love that this recipe doesn’t cook the fruit! I have this thing about cooking fruit–I feel like it dissolves all the nutrition or something.
    I thought it was strange that TJ’s sells simple syrup too. I can understand a flavored one (like mint simple syrup for Mojitos), but plain sugar + water?? I don’t get it.

  12. Keeley says:

    The granita is pretty and I love cherries! And oh… my… goodnes! Those tacos look delish!

  13. Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams says:

    So easy yet looks amazingly refreshing and delicious!

  14. Kirstin says:

    I just made a cherry granita too! Great minds, although for mine I just used a bottle cherry juice. Still refreshing :)

  15. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    Look at that color! Absolutely stunning. And delicious too, I’m sure.

  16. Cookin Canuck says:

    That cherry granita is whispering sweet nothings into my ear. What a refreshing treat for a hot day!

  17. Nicole says:

    Oh my! I clicked thinking it was going to be a recipe about steak tartare. Wow, this is really red. How lovely.

  18. Lori says:

    Just picked some yesterday! A great idea here Jen, thank you.

  19. nikki says:

    love cherries! your photography is fantastic…love your blog!

  20. melanie says:

    Wow.That granita looks amazing!I’m going to make it.I’ve been on an ice cream kick,making a different flavor each week.Time to lighten up!Thanks!You’re blog is incredible!

  21. Ruth Ann says:

    Wow, your granita looks soooo yummy!
    Have a great time at your workshop next week. I’m sorry to miss it.

  22. sarah says:

    jen, this looks delightful! i’m drooling a little on my keyboard. we’re having a local ice cream recipe contest at the culinary school through july and if anyone makes up a magical batch of ice cream they should enter, too! xoxo

  23. RandyK says:

    Wow! Those pictures are amazing I want to lick the screen, LOL. My mom sent me over this post with a surprise. She said she also ordered me 5 lbs. of Michigan cherries from from Traverse Bay Farms to arrive today! I can’t wait! I am running out to get a cherry pitter right now.

  24. Betty says:

    It’s been super hot here too, and I know just what you mean about cooking! Your granita looks so refreshing. Beautiful red cherries are just now showing up in the grocery store and I always keep a bowl of them in the refrigerator ready to eat. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  25. philandlauren says:

    Couldn’t agree more about craving cold items in this weather. Sitting here sweating at noon with a diet coke which is the only thing I could find. When we get back from vacation I’m going to produce tons of cpld soups (and cherry granita).

  26. Astrid says:

    Looks fabulous. I wonder whether you could go the lazy route and freeze the liquid in ice cube trays, then pulse them in the blender. Maybe the ice crystals would have a different textures though.

  27. len says:

    I look delicious, I will try it a soon a possible. Just have to wait for the first sunny day, they where in short supply until now.

  28. Denise says:

    I can’t wait to check out Pica’s! I wish you smashing success on your photo workshop and wish I could attend, sounds amazing. Goodness knows I could use some photo guidance.

  29. Caitlin says:

    If cherries made it past the gobbling up stage, I’d totally make this. But I end up just popping the entire bag in a day or two :) And yay for great tacos al pastor in Boulder!

  30. Mrs Ergül says:

    You sure polish your glassware sparkling clean Jen! Nice looking granita there!

  31. Christine says:

    Do you think I could heat up the cherries with a teeny bit of simply syrup, or would it ruin the recipe? The husband is allergic to raw stone fruit. (But I love it!)

  32. Doniree says:

    That looks amazing and your cherry pictures are beautiful!

  33. jenyu says:

    Wei-Wei – you could just reduce the amount of simple syrup.

    Sarah – not difficult, but a little time-consuming. Easiest is to buy a cherry pitter (which I won’t do).

    DessertForTwo – me too, I like uncooked fruit.

    Ruth Ann – we’re sad to have missed you!

    Sarah – mmm, thanks!

    RandyK – lucky you!!!

    Astrid – I think the crystals would be different, but it would certainly be fast!

    Denise – thanks!! :)

    Caitlin – I ate several bags of cherries before arriving at this.

    Christine – I’m sure you could. It’s all very flexible.

  34. Erin says:

    IIII want tacos al pastor!!

  35. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says:

    Ahh yummy! I had no idea making granitas was so easy!!

  36. Mei Teng says:

    Fresh cherries are so expensive over here (coz they’re mostly imported). I love eating fresh ones.

  37. Springtime Eats | blah blah birds says:

    […] cherry granita, whole lemon tart, raspberry lemon cupcakes […]

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