Tart Cherry Granita

A fresh granita is the perfect summer treat.

Granitas – think Italian ice or sorbet –  were my favorite treat growing up. My siblings and I would pretty much beg for them as we left church each Sunday in the summer. There was a little hole in the wall place that sold them right around the block from our childhood church. And what made their granitas so special was that they didn’t rely on overusing artificial syrups or sweeteners. They were made with real fresh fruit. Spitting out lemon seeds and cooling off with a classic lemon granita was easily one of the best things after what seemed like an eternity sitting in an old, hot, unairconditioned catholic church dressed to the nines in your Sunday best.

So I decided to relive the memories and make my own – albeit with my favorite fruit of all time – tart Montmorency cherries. This recipe follows in the footsteps of my childhood and uses real cherries, lime juice, a little honey and simple syrup to balance out that electric cheek stinging tartness, along with a pinch of salt to really bring out the flavor.

The best part ? It’s all so easy. You’ve just got to keep an eye on it while it freezes, and make sure to scrape the mixture with a fork to keep it light and fluffy and to prevent big ice crystals from forming. That’s what gives the granita it’s luxurious texture. Enjoy.

Time You Need

  • ~15 minutes prep
  • ~2-3 hours resting time
  • Yields: ~6 servings

What You Need

  • 4 cups of frozen tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. simple syrup (or more, depending on desired sweetness)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or more, depending on desired sweetness)
  • 3/4 cup of water

What You Do

  • In a food processor or blender, add cherries, lime juice, water, honey, and simple syrup. Blend into a puree until ingredients are nice and smooth.
  • Pour into a small (freezer-safe) shallow pan or baking dish, lightly salt the mixture, and place in the freezer. After about 30 minutes , remove and scrape the mixture with a fork (like one of those zen sand gardens). Make sure to break up any big chunks.
  • Return to freezer for another 2-3 hours, making sure to check on the mixture every 30 minute to scrape with a fork and break up any ice crystals or large chunks.
  • After time is up, remove from freezer and stir the granita with a fork.
  • Serve on a hot summer day, and enjoy!
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