July 16, 2011

Lemonade granita or frozen lemonade

Run out and get some extra lemons because this lemonade granita (or frozen lemonade) is worth making.  It's lemonade, intensified...a combination of sweet and tartness in each icy bite.  It's so refreshing, it makes a perfect ending to a summer barbecue.
Lemonade is one of the things I associate with summer.  Although in our household, a certain six-year old would love to have lemonade any time, all year round.  As a result, I barely got a taste of this frozen lemonade during our initial taste-test since the little one hogged it all up.  I wouldn't pretend that the little guy loves everything I make but he loves chocolate and is a fan of lemon.  This was right up his alley since he loves lemonade and cold things so much.  And there's something about lemons, isn't there?  It wakes everything up and makes things better.  A freshly made ice-cold lemonade is hard to resist (I love it mixed with iced tea) on these hot summer days.  A frozen lemonade just might be even better. 
If you feel like taking the additional step, the granita can be mixed in a food processor to give it a smoother texture to be scooped out like you see in the glass upfront.

Even though I'd just made watermelon granita very recently, I had to try the lemonade version when I saw this post on thekitchn.com.  I had a feeling my son would love this more than the watermelon version and I was right.  It was as good as the post from the kitchn promised.  I'm really glad I tried it and for the lemon/lemonade lovers out there, maybe you'll want to give this a go...if you have a bunch of lemons, you're in business.

This lemonade granita is very easy to put together.  You just need a bunch of lemons and sugar. 

You can find the recipe and directions for this lemonade granita very nicely spelled out for you right here.  (You could also check out my post on watermelon granita to see the step-by-step process for that.)

The first step is to make the lemonade and we start by making a simple syrup.  It's just equal parts sugar to water, cooked over a medium flame until melted.  The recipe calls for making half a cup (so half cup of sugar and half cup of water) but you might want to make a little more and  store the extra in your refrigerator to sweeten your iced-tea, iced-coffee or lemonade, of course.  It's great to have around in the summer if you plan to make those types of drinks. 
Set the simple syrup aside to cool while you squeeze those lemons.  Use the recipe as a general guideline.  It tells you that 6-8 lemons should yield about 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice.  I used 8 lemons and only got a little over a cup of juice.  Since it's basically a matter of combining equal parts lemon juice to water together, I just used an equal amount of water in making the lemonade so it's not a problem if you don't have the exact amount of juice specified in the recipe.  Squeezing the lemons by hand is a good workout.
Then, just combine the lemon juice with an equal amount of water and sweeten it by adding the simple syrup made earlier.  Start with 1/4 cup of the syrup to taste.  Be sure to sweeten it well!!  I added the full quarter cup and it was still quite tart.  I ended up adding about 1/3 cup of the syrup and I think I should've used a little bit more so don't be shy like I was.  As the recipe mentions, the granita will taste less sweet after it's frozen so it's fine if it tastes a bit too sweet when you're mixing it up at this point.  Pour this mixture into a baking dish and freeze.  Every hour or so, take it out to stir it up and scrape it.  Crush the frozen pieces with the back of your fork.  I did this 4 times (but if you are short on time, just twice should be enough).  Then cover it tightly and freeze overnight.

When you're ready to serve, just scrape the granita with your fork and fill it into a cold glass or bowl.  If you'd like a somewhat smoother texture and don't mind an additional step, put some of the granita into the chilled bowl of a food processor and give it a quick whirl.  I really wanted to try this out so I did.  It doesn't exactly become sorbet but it is smoother and you can just about scoop it out.  I actually prefer it this way but I have to admit it's inconvenient to haul out and clean an extra piece of equipment.  We also let some of it melt a bit in the glass and added a tiny bit more sugar syrup (my batch came out on the tart side) and slurped it like super cold lemonade. 
Either way, enjoy this super refreshing lemonade granita!
Someone in our family was more than enjoying it!

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