After Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house this year, I had my Grandma and Aunt Margie explain some of the traditional Christmas foods that come from their side of the family, the Kulhays. Like many of the early 20th century immigrants in the Cleveland area, the Kulhays are from Hungary. I picked four Christmas staples: Székelygulyás, Sauerkraut Balls, Töltöttkáposzta, and Christmas Jello. After the videos, Grandma and Aunt Margie graciously opened their cookbooks and shared their recipes.
Granitas are a perfect way to use up ripe, in-season fruit and make a refreshing dessert.
I bought a golden honeydew at the grocery store, but didn’t get around to cutting it up and eating it until it was so ripe that it wouldn’t last long after being cut up. I settled on making a granita, an Italian ice-based flavored dessert that has varying consistencies across Italy.
I searched through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop (one of the best frozen dessert recipe books out there) and came across this recipe for a melon granita. Perfect.
In general, granitas are made with fruit pureed with sugar and water. You can make one with nearly any fruit. Some people even make them from strong coffee and sugar. Use this recipe as a base and generalize.
- 1 melon (honeydew, cantaloupe, or golden honeydew will work)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Pinch of salt
Cut the melon in half, remove the seeds, cut into slices, and remove the outer peel and rind. Put the melon and the rest of the ingredients in the blender until completely smooth.
Pour this mixture into a large, flat baking dish, or any large dish to maximize the surface area of the liquid, and put it in the freezer. (Make sure you have a flat space to set it!) After an hour, break up the large chunks of ice with a fork and mix it in, then put it back in the freezer. Start checking and breaking up the ice again every 30 minutes until you reach a consistency you like. If it freezes too hard, leave it out on the counter for a bit and mix it back up again.
Serve it in a glass or small bowl with whipped cream, or simply eat plain, as pictured above.
This was delicious and lasted us for a while. I’m going to experiment with more granitas in the future. Here are some ideas:
- Adding alcohol
- Watermelon and mint
- Campari and orange
- Champagne and some fruit (blackberries, raspberries, or, as David Lebovitz recommends, black currants?)