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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cantaloupe Granita with Sugared Rosemary

I'm not a big dairy fan...unless you count cheese, and Greek yogurt.... AND heavy whipping cream!  Which makes sense considering the amount of ice cream that finds it way through my Cuisinart.  On this particular day however, my fridge was bone dry of the good stuff (the heavy cream) yet the heat in our loft screamed for a chilly treat.

 It was about this time that I noticed (read: smelled) the forgotten cantaloupe purchased at Stanley's a few days prior. I love this little fruit and vegetable market but it's not for the 'forgetful' type. You buy, you use.  Now. 

Granitas are a nice, simple dessert; admittedly they have not always topped my favorite list (probably because there was no cream in them!) However, if you think of this as a gourmet version of those icey pops we had as kids- you know, the ones you cut the plastic top off and then sucked all the good flavor out leaving a lackluster tube of ice...

Behold the flavorful granita. It's more slushy than tubes of ice and more refreshing than fake grape flavor. Enjoy this recipe during the upcoming hot summer days; do change up the fruit and feel free to add a drizzle of vodka to really bring home the 'gourmet' Fat and Happy icey pop version.  You'll find it's actually a nice break from dairy and your body will thank you as well.

Tips and techniques:  Do scrape often with a the tines of a fork; this will help keep the granita slushy instead of having big clumps of ice. Try various fruits when they are at their ripest for the best flavor to shine through.

Cantaloupe Granita with Sugared Rosemary

1 Cantaloupe (2 heaping cups, chopped)
1 Tbls lemon
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 large sprigs of Rosemary

Heat the water and sugar over medium heat, stir, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat

Add the fresh rosemary sprigs the sugar water and cool to room temperature. Set in the refrigerator (or freezer) to chill.  Once chilled, remove the rosemary and follow the candied rosemary recipe below. 

Add the the cubed cantaloupe and the lemon juice to a cuisinart, pulse a few times while slowly drizzling in the sugar water.  You should only need about 1/2 cup of the sugar water, but take a quick taste and add more as needed to your liking.  Pulse enough times so that you have a near liquid concoction; be sure all the big hunks of melon have been crushed.

Pour the mixture in a small Pyrex baking dish or a parchment lined baking pan, carefully place in the freezer.  Allow to set up for about 2 hours, remove from the freezer and scrape the entire granita with the tines of a fork.  Place back in the freezer and repeat the scraping about 2 more times over a two hour period.  (Or if you are like me, as often as you remember!)

To serve, place in a pretty serving dish or glass and top with the sugared rosemary (below).  Add a drizzle of chilled vodka (optional).  Serve immediately.

Sugared Rosemary
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 - 4 rosemary sprigs

To make superfine sugar, simply pulse regular white sugar in the cuisinart or blender for a minute to create smaller particles.  Pour the sugar onto a flat plate.

Remove the rosemary sprigs from the sugar water, shake lightly.  Carefully roll the rosemary sprigs in the sugar and allow to dry.  Garnish each granita with a sprig.

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