I swear to you, this was an accident. Italian ice was not even on my radar; I was actually thinking about back-to-school meals and doing a series of quick weeknight suppers. Somehow, I got distracted. Can you blame me?
Perhaps it was the great sale on the grapes, or the unusually warm weather that led me astray. Regardless of how it happened, I regret nothing. How could I, when this luscious treat is the result?
Italian ices, also known as granitas, are wonderful summer desserts. They are simple to make, lovely to look at, taste divine and need hardly any effort for delicious results. Black grapes are just about perfect right now: juicy, flavorful, and so naturally sweet the recipe calls for nothing more than a hint of enhancement. A splash of lemon juice and a little bit of powdered galangal root, a spice commonly used in Thai cooking, enhances the grapes’ natural flavor without overwhelming it.
I recommend that you cool your serving dishes for best results. The refrigerator is probably safest, but if you’ve forgotten, a couple of minutes in the freezer should work just fine.
- 2 lbs. seedless black grapes
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon galangal root powder
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine grapes, lemon juice and galangal. Blend until grapes are fully pulverized (about 1 minute in the blender). Pour into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer.
- After about one hour, remove the mixture from the freezer. Use a fork to scrape the solid parts around the edges into the center. Return mixture to freezer. After another hour, repeat.
- After the third hour, mixture should be completely frozen (if it is not, just scrape and return it to the freezer).
- When ready to serve, scrape the mixture one last time to "fluff" the granita. Scoop into a chilled dish for best results.