Need a way to stave off the summer heat? This light, cold, pink watermelon granita is the perfect way to go. A ripe and sweet watermelon is key for optimal flavor. And here, orange blossom water provides a subtle surprise—a delicate, fruity, floral kiss for the palate, transporting the senses to bright fields of orange groves. For added depth to this classic summertime treat, try adding a little ginger syrup. The wee dash of ginger, the splash of orange blossom water, and the final sprig of mint all give this refreshing granita an almost otherworldly quality. I hope you like it. Stay cool!
Watermelon Granita with Orange Blossom Water
1 pound seedless watermelon, sliced, rind discarded
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a small lemon, juiced)
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger syrup, optional (recipe below)
zest of half an orange, for garnish, optional
mint leaves, for garnish, optional
In a food processor or blender, purée the watermelon flesh and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar with water and bring to a boil. Stir until all sugar is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, orange blossom water, and ginger syrup, if using. Stir and allow to cool.
Combine watermelon purée with cooled syrup. Taste and adjust flavor, adding more lemon juice, water, sugar or ginger syrup as desired. Note, orange blossom water is quite powerful; a little goes a long way. Use it with a light hand. Poor mixture into a baking dish and place in the freezer. Use a fork to scrape and the stir the mixture every 30 minutes or so, until the granita is frozen but still a bit slushy in consistency. Serve with orange zest and mint, if using.
This syrup can also be used to make tea (mix with lemon) or add it to sparkling or soda water for a refreshing drink.
2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and sliced or coarsely chopped
1 cup water
1/4 -1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan combine ginger, water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add vanilla and allow to simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.