Pureed fruit, juice, or other flavorful liquid
Often made from the juice or purée of fresh fruit, there are countless other liquids you can use in your base. Espresso, spirits, herbal infusions, puréed roasted or stewed fruit are just a few other possibilities.
For a lighter granita: Start with juice, strained puree, and other watery liquids.
For a denser granita: Use thick purees and liquids with some fat in them.
Cook up sugar + water
Alternatively, you can heat your puree or juice with sugar, but I liked sweetening the base ingredients with syrup.
For more concentrated flavor: Use a rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water).
For a lighter flavor and texture: Use 1 part sugar to 1 part water or dilute even further.
A syrup made with turbinado sugar adds a richer, more complex flavor. Keep in mind that its amber color can affect the appearance of your granita. Honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, and fruit preserves are other sweetening options.
Balance with acidity
Adding a couple teaspoons of lemon or lime juice balances out the flavor of a sweet granita.
Pour into a shallow container, cover, and freeze
A cold metal or pyrex pan covered with plastic wrap will chill the granita nicely, but if your freezer is overstuffed like mine (with a high risk of freezer avalanche), you might do well with a well-sealed and shallow take-out container.
Scrape it up
After the first hour, or when the first ice crystals start forming, use a fork to scrape up the ice crystals. Then every 30 minutes, or whenever you remember to, check in on the progress and scrape some more.
This coconut granita is close to done, but there is still some liquid among the flakes of ice. It needs another 30 minutes or so in the freezer.
After several hours, it’s done
When the granita has frozen into a flaky and just slightly slushy mix, it’s time to dig in. Eat it as is, or garnish it with fruit, whipped cream, or whatever else will provide you with maximum refreshment. It tastes best eaten within a day or two of making it. Store it in the freezer, but if the granita happens to melt, you can refreeze it, scraping it along the way.