How to make Italian lemon granita

Lemon granita is a thirst quenching dessert dish of crushed, flavoured ice and is typically Italian although it is Arab in origin. Original recipes for granita were bought to the sunny climate of Sicily and consisted typically of fruit juices or rosewater.

According to The Italian Notebook, during the middle ages, ‘nevaroli’ meaning ‘snow-gatherers’, would harvest the snow from Mount Etna and other snowy mountain ranges, for the nobility of the time. The snow would then be mixed with lemons and you can still find lemon granita (granita di limone) being served all over Italy.

Today you can expect to find all sorts of flavoured granita including granite di caffe (coffee), pistachio, almond and an array of fruits reflecting the season.

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We want to show you the technique for making a granite so that you can invent a few granita of your own.

Ingredients for lemon granita: Serves 6 – 8

  • 1/2 liter of bottled water
  • 6 – 8 medium to large lemons
  • 400 grams of sugar
  1. Boil the water, meanwhile, squeeze the lemons, removing the seeds. When the water boils, add the sugar and boil for about 10 min.
  2. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  3. Add the lemon juice, mix well and put it in an shallow, airtight container in the freezer for 24 hours.
  4. Break the frozen lemon ice and blend for a few minutes during which time it will melt a little and you will have created a creamy ‘slush’.
  5. Pour it back in the shallow container and place in the freezer.
  6. After half an hour, scrape and stir the lemon granita with a fork. Keep doing this every 1/2 hours until it resembles crunchy snow.
  7. Serve or store in the fr
  8. Garnish with lemon peel.
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