This recipe was just part of an idea typed into the memo app on my phone in March. To see it on my blog right now as a real thing – not to mention the spoonfuls I ate yesterday – is very exciting to me.
Coincidentally it’s coming to you during the first week of summer. I swear that none of this was planned. I am the last person to know about these “days”. Isn’t it summer when the sun comes out and stays for more than a few days at a time? That’s what I thought. How do you predict that? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
It’s also popsicle week in the blog world. I’m not participating nor did I know about it but I seem to have come up with a close cousin anyway because a) I don’t own a popsicle mould #icecubetrays4life b) I have very strong intuition (I wish) about approaching summer stuff.
So what’s granita anyway? It’s an Italian ice treat that is originally from Sicily. I would have never heard of it if it wasn’t for Reliance Web World near St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. That overpriced cyber cafe had gaming teenagers and kids checking email and doing class projects from the sprawling top floor. It was all completely air-conditioned, with very low ceilings and had a tiny cafe if you walked down the stairs. They let you eat your Death by Chocolate and sip that fruity granita in front of your PC. Something that seemed very unlikely in the world of rules that is India. Of course I could never bring myself to buy their food (or Internet!) when I knew I could get vada pav for Rs 2 outside. Laugh at me now. I have become one of those “In my days…” people. I was however, happy to have generous friends with less guilt who would let me taste their food.
This recipe was made to remember those times when all the other college kids were underage drinking while we were hanging out at the now defunct Web World making fun of everybody and the forever scolding college computer lab lady, who we thought would really like the granita (inside joke). We
were are cool.
- The dark brown/almost black jaggery came with me in my suitcase from Goa. It comes in a pyramid shape and is used in all the best sweet in my home state. It’s made from coconut palm sap. I have no idea where you can get it here in the US so I suggest using coconut sugar as a substitute.
- The recipe for the granita uses creme de cocoa, which is alcohol. If you’d like to substitute that, use a creme de cocoa syrup and eliminate the 2 tsp of sugar from this recipe. The alcohol also helps the granita not freeze too hard.
- There are a lot of opinions online about what makes a good coconut whipped cream with regards to brand names, etc. I used A Taste of Thai unsweetened first pressing. It’s a much thicker juice and turns fluffy very easily. Use whatever brand you trust or make you own!
- You could turn this into a popsicle too if you have the moulds. After straining the cherry mixture, mix it with the whipped coconut milk. As for the sprinkles part, since it came out today (thank you ladies), this recipe’s method of adding “flair” to popsicles would totally go with the cardamom sprinkles. I might do this today.
For the granita
- 3 cups cherries, pitted and halved
- 4 inch piece of lemongrass, outer layers peeled away and bruised
- 1 1/2 tbsp creme de cocoa liqueur (*see notes)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and mix them around with a spoon. Let them sit for 15 minutes until the cherries release some of its juices. Process the ingredients until they turn into a smooth pulp. Pass the cherry pulp through a fine mesh sieve. Use a rubber spatula to help most of pulp to pass through. Discard what’s left behind in the sieve.
Pour the juicy cherry mixture into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Every 40 minutes, pull out the container and disturb the mixture using a fork. Pat the frozen bits back down lightly and put it back in the freezer. Repeat until the mixture has a set granular texture.
For the cardamom crunch sprinkles
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp millet
- 4 tbsp dessicated coconut/dried unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tsp fresh ground cardamon seeds
- 2 packed tsp, grated black jaggery or coconut sugar
Add all ingredients to a tawa or medium-sized cast iron pan on medium heat. Toss together to mix and using a spoon, keep pushing the mixture back and forth in the pan to help to toast evenly and avoid burning. In about 4-5 minutes, as soon as the millet starts to pop, take the pan off the stove and scoop the toasted sprinkles into an air-tight container. Leave the lid off to let it cool. Cover and store until ready to use.
For the coconut whip
- 1 can thick/full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Add the fatty contents of the cold coconut milk into a medium-sized bowl using a spoon, leaving behind the liquid at the bottom. Add the vanilla extract to the bowl. Using an electric beater or whisk, mix until it forms a smooth whip. It should take about 1-2 minutes. Can make a day ahead but you will have to re-whip it as it might lose its fluffy texture in the fridge.
Add some granita into a small bowl. Top with coconut whip, sprinkles and a cherry.