The Step You Cannot Skip For Perfect Texture In Your Granita

With the weather getting warmer and summer fast approaching, now is the time to master the art of making a granita. A granita is similar to shaved ice. This Sicilian treat is identifiable by its fluffy, crunchy frost and fresh fruit flavor. This delicacy is multifunctional; it can be served as a palate cleanser and occasionally for breakfast. There's no limit to how you can customize this refreshing dessert, but Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn's 5-ingredient basil citrus granita is the quintessential take on this Italian recipe and the perfect accompaniment for a fresh pasta dinner or summer barbecue. McGlinn has a specific technique to get the ultimate smooth granita and achieve that ideal texture.

"The best granita will be very smooth and look almost like ice cream, but with a more crystalline texture," says McGlinn. "To do this, freeze until the granita begins to solidify, then scrape the sides towards the middle of the container."

You can think of this almost like scraping dough down the side of a bowl. McGlinn continues agitating the ice mixture every 30 minutes so that it doesn't completely freeze. She notes that you can tell when your granita is done once it's no longer liquid and has a firmness to it. You don't need a specific tool for this; a regular spoon or rubber spatula will work just fine. This technique is what makes granita different from a sorbet or shaved ice. 

How to serve granita

When serving granita, don't take it out of your freezer until you are ready to serve, as you don't want to lose that texture you just worked so long to achieve due to it melting. Granita is commonly presented in cocktail glasses, so to further stabilize its texture, you can store your glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will keep the granita colder longer and preserve the smoothness.

McGlinn mentions several ways to enjoy the dish, including with fresh fruit or in the traditional breakfast spread with brioche and espresso. You can give granita a boozy touch by adding a shot of liquor over the final product or by incorporating your liquor of choice into your granita mixture. Just be careful not to add too much, as alcohol can disrupt the freezing process for this recipe (alcohol doesn't freeze easily, which makes projects like alcoholic granita or boozy ice cream difficult).