Granita: The Easiest Way to Chill

Melissa Rubel, one of our truly extraordinary talents in the Test Kitchen, made a killer granita the other day that’s sent me on a rather obsessional journey with the frozen dessert. For a long time I was oddly intimidated by granitas; their fancy name somehow gave the impression they were hard to make. But then a week or so ago, Melissa found herself with a 46-ounce can of pineapple juice she had no use for (it came as a demonstration can for a can opener). Melissa knew just what to do. She simmered the juice with 1/3 cup of sugar, 8 mint sprigs and 1 chopped Thai red chile, and let the juice infuse at room temperature for half an hour. Then she strained the mixture into a shallow glass baking dish, swirled in 2 tablespoons of minced mint and 1 thinly sliced Thai red chile, and slid the dish into the freezer. She stirred the juice a few times over the next few hours as it turned to ice, and out came – genius. Sweet, spicy, crunchy, and best of all, cold. So easy! Now I’m making my way quickly through Nadia Roden’s illustrated Granita Magic and our own Food & Wine recipes online. I usually hate summer humidity, but right now I want August to last forever.

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