Published May 1, 1994.
A new food-processor technique replaces the tedious scraping demanded by traditional granita recipes.
The traditional scraping technique, which has been used for centuries in Italy for making granitas, poses two problems for today's cooks: It requires hours of off-and-on attention, and it cannot be prepared in advance because it must be served just as the crystals of freezing liquid harden to the proper consistency.
Granitas, the icy Italian dessert, are simple stuff: a flavorful fruit puree or liquid--juice, espresso, herb-infused tea, or wine--is combined with sugar and flavorings and then frozen. Traditionally, the liquid is frozen in a bowl and scraped every 30 minutes for several hours to produce a shimmering, granular dessert made up of individual ice crystals. We wanted a modern, time-saving technique that would produce a granita that came as close to the traditional as possible.
Fortunately, an excellent version of granita can be made using that most modern of tools, the food processor. To make granitas in a food processor, simply pour the flavored liquid into ice-cube trays. A few hours later, when they have hardened, you can store them in a zipper-lock bag (to prevent freezer burn) for up to one week, or transfer them immediately to the workbowl of a food processor and pulse them into tiny ice shavings. The texture, a bit creamier than that of traditional granitas, is often preferred by people accustomed to the texture of sorbets and ice creams. The biggest challenge in making granitas with this method is obtaining the right texture. As a rule, do not process more cubes than can fit comfortably in a single layer in the food processor. Use the pulse button, turning the machine on and off 10 or 12 times to ensure even grinding. Generally, bursts of two or three seconds are most effective.list of recipes