I am ready. I need to mentally transfer over from citrus to melons, from soups to ices. What better way to do it than this watermelon granita. Let's take it one step further and give ourselves a pat on the back for surviving this damn winter. Was the snow so bad here in NYC? No. But the cold did linger. Somehow by the time May comes around, everyone is asking themselves why we are all still living on the East Coast. What's so great about Brooklyn anyway? But do not fear! Let's celebrate the warm weather by spiking your granita. Ok, keep going. Let's mimic a Margarita by adding tequila and lime! Summer is looking good.
For those of you that are new to the frozen ices thing, don’t be scared by granita. In fact it is the lazy person’s way to frozen desserts. No machines necessary. Granita got a bad reputation because the instructions tell you to monitor the ices and scrape it down every so often. Sounds high maintenance. But you do not need to babysit it as much as the instructions may tell you. It is like the “suggested donation.” If you can, then great. If not, then do your best. I have heard stories of people throwing out their precious blocks of ice because they have forgotten to scrape it. Do not despair, and definitely do not throw it out. If you don’t scrape it as much as the instructions tell you, this just means you may have to spend a little more time scraping when you finally get around to it. The end result will still be awesome. Enjoy!
Watermelon Margarita Granita
1/3 cup water
¼ cup cane sugar
3 (very full!) cups sweet watermelon, cubed and black seeds removed
½ cup tequila
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Take your water and sugar and put it into a small saucepan. Place the pot over a low flame and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes or just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Take your watermelon, sugar syrup, tequila, lime juice and salt and combine in a blender. Run the blender on high for about 20 seconds. Pour the mixture into a small dish (I use a 9 inch cake pan for no good reason but anything with sides will do) and place in the freezer. After 1 hour, remove the pan from the freezer and (working quickly) scrape the ices with a fork. You want to loosen up the mixture to create small pieces. Keep repeating this process every 30 minutes for a few hours (or when you can), until desired consistency. Transfer to a covered container and store in the freezer.
To serve and Garnish:
Take 3 tablespoons cane sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and mix well into a small shallow dish. Take a piece of leftover watermelon and rub it around the rim of your serving cups or dessert dishes. (I have used shot glasses, martini glasses or even nicer plastic tumblers to serve.) Dip the wet edge of the glass in your sugar dish so that it makes a pretty coating on the rim of the glass. Scoop your granita into the glass, and garnish with a thin slice of lime and a thin slice of jalapeno pepper.
Plan Ahead: The granita lasts in the freezer for 3 months (Unless you drink it up before it ever freezes. I’m just saying.)