Melon granita

Melon granita

Granita al melone

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
6
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

The Tuscan summer means long days, the hot sun scorching the ancient stone towns and the crackling, dry fields of the countryside. The Italians tackle it by either staying high in the hills or spending time very close to the sea, where the evening air is more likely to bring a little relief in the form of a breeze.

Another remedy for the summer heat is to consume plenty of gelato and granita, which becomes almost an obligatory pastime in the warm afternoons and evenings. Having moved temporarily to Porto Ercole and living without any fancy kitchen equipment, I found myself making granita quite a bit. It’s so unbelievably simple to make at home – you don’t need any special equipment and it literally takes a few minutes (getting a little one to understand they have to wait hours until they can try it is the only tricky part).

Melone (rockmelon or cantaloupe) grows locally in Capalbio and it is possibly the sweetest, most fragrant and delicious melon I’ve ever tasted. I eat it all summer long and keep chilled slices in the fridge to drape over slices of salty prosciutto toscano that makes lunch or antipasto in just minutes. This refreshing granita, something between a sorbet and a slushie, is another favourite use for melone, much loved in our household. It’s also surprisingly wonderful with a hint of chilli, which you only sense a few moments after each mouthful – a version I first experienced at a restaurant on Elba Island. Add a pinch of dried chilli powder to the mixture before freezing.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g sugar
500-600g rockmelon, rind and seeds removed
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Dissolve the sugar in about 125 ml of water in a small saucepan over low–medium heat and bring to the boil for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Chop the melon roughly into pieces. Pulse in a blender or pass through a food mill and reduce to a smooth pulp. Pour the melon pulp into a container that will fit in the freezer (preferably one that has a lid) and stir through the lemon juice and cooled sugar syrup. If the dish doesn’t have a lid, double wrap well in plastic wrap. Put the container flat in the freezer and allow 4–6 hours or so to set. Stir every hour with a fork, particularly around the edges where it will freeze first, until you have a creamy, but icy consistency. Serve in little glasses with a spoon or straw.

Note

  • Choose your container well. You might be left with little choice depending on the shape of your freezer, but consider that if you have the mixture in a wide, shallow dish such as a glass or ceramic lasagne tray or similar, it will freeze quicker than if you have it in a deep, narrow dish like a loaf tin.

    If you’ve left the granita too long (such as overnight) and end up with quite a solid block, simply use a fork to ‘ f luff ’ and grate the granita into icy f lakes, place into glasses and give it a little stir before serving. You can also make a strawberry or cherry version by substituting the fruit.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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