Fran Costigan, culinary instructor, cookbook author, pastry chef, consultant, and the director of Vegan Pastry at Rouxbe cooking school, is internationally renowned as the authority on vegan desserts. Her vegan desserts are a highlight when she teaches at The Ranch’s cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta.
Watermelon Granita with Chocolate Seeds Recipe
On a hot and humid summer day, nothing beats a couple of slices of ice-cold watermelon for me. Nothing, that is, until I made this rosy pink, icy cold, lime-scented watermelon granita. Granita is typically made by freezing fruity liquid in a shallow pan and scraping the mixture with a fork at regular intervals as it freezes. That’s pretty simple, but I didn’t want to be tied to setting a timer and scraping. I had heard about making granita in a food processor using frozen cubes of fruit purée, and I decided to test the process. It worked perfectly; the granita was fluffy, and the watermelon taste shone through.
Makes About 1 ½ Pints
1 1/2 pounds watermelon, cubed and seeded
1/4 cup organic granulated sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 to 2 ounces dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into small chunks for the “seeds” (use more if you like, I do)
Flaked sea salt (optional)
- Purée the watermelon cubes in a food processor or blender and pour into a bowl (you should have 2 cups / 480 ml of juice). Add the sugar and lime juice to the purée and whisk briskly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until hard. This can take up to 24 hours.
- Make the granita: Put a 2-quart container with a lid into the freezer. Transfer the frozen cubes to a food processor. Limit the number of cubes to no more than a double layer at a time so that the granita does not get slushy. Pulse a dozen or so times in 2 to 3-second bursts until the cubes are finely chopped. The number of pulses will depend on your machine.
- Scrape the granita into the chilled container, cover the container, and return it to the freezer; repeat with the remaining cubes if necessary.
The granita is ready to eat right out of the food processor. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with as many chocolate “seeds” as you like. I believe watermelon benefits from a sprinkling of flaked sea salt, and if you agree, sprinkle a bit over each bowl.
Freeze the granita in a covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the granita within a week. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press).
Photo credit: © Kate Lewis
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