Fruity and fresh as spring
March 13, 2006
At any time of year – especially until spring and summer fruit ripens in our yards, fields and orchards – pears and limoncello can combine to provide a refreshing option, as they do in this frosty dessert.
“Granitas are wonderful because you can serve them as a palate cleanser in a champagne glass as part of a formal meal, or as a light dessert for a casual menu,” Deborah Fabricant, the developer of the recipe, says. Fabricant, who has a background as a cooking-school and restaurant owner, currently runs her own entertaining business in Los Angeles.
Garnish the granita with a thin twist of lemon, mint sprig, or even berries, for a treat that brings its own taste of spring.
Limoncello, Pear and Riesling Granita
1 cup water
2 cups Riesling wine (see note)
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1/2 cup sugar
2 ripe pears, peeled, seeded and cut into quarters
1/4 cup limoncello liqueur
Optional garnishes: Lemon zest or slices, or mint sprigs
Mix together water, 1 cup wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add pears, lower the heat to simmer and cook the pears gently, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly in cooking liquid. Drain the pears, reserving the cooking liquid.
Purée the pears in a food processor until smooth. You should have 1 cup of pear puree. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the cooking liquid, the 1 cup of wine and the limoncello to the bowl. Mix well. Pour into a shallow pan that will fit into the freezer, such as an 8-by-8-inch cake pan, and freeze. Gently stir the granita every 2 hours or until frozen. This allows the mixture to freeze without separating and gives a proper crystal-like texture.
Once the granita is frozen, scrape the mixture with a spoon or ice-cream scoop and serve immediately. Garnish with lemon zest or a sprig of mint. Makes 6 servings.
Note: A dry Riesling balances the sweet liqueur, Fabricant says, but according to your taste you may substitute other fruity wines, ranging from a dry Gewurztraminer to a sweet dessert wine or port, if you prefer.