Citrus Snow Granita

Today I smelled spring – just a hint. The air was chilled, but it had green smell, and the birds were in full song. I realized the snow would soon be gone, and I would be cooking very different things. Visions of fresh spinach salads, wild ramps, and strawberries swirled in my head. But I’m getting way ahead of myself. It is March, I live in Wisconsin – winter is still here.

But my spring thoughts made me crave a bright, sour taste (or it could be because I’m 8 months pregnant.) So I came up with a transitional treat that would feature winter, yet hearken the coming of spring.

I made a basic lemon simple syrup, and drizzled it over clean, fluffy snow. It was like those Hawaiian shaved ice treats you get at the state fair, but so much better. The clean snow had a fresh, mineral taste and a light texture that makes a fun treat for kids, but also would make an intriguing dinner party dessert or sorbet course.

Make it fast, before the snow is gone!

Citrus Snow Granita
Serves 4

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest from one lemon
6 cups of clean snow, lightly scraped from a big drift near your back door

1) Heat sugar, water, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator until ready to use (syrup needs to be cool when you pour it, so as to not immediately melt your snow.) Strain out and reserve lemon zest.

2) When ready to serve, place 1 cup snow in four pretty dishes.  Pour 1/4 cup lemon simple syrup over each portion. Stir lightly, then add an additional 1/2 cup snow to the top, and barely incorporate (the syrup melts the snow a bit, so adding more snow after pouring gives it a fresher look.) Garnish with reserved lemon zest.

Variations: You could use any flavored simple syrup for this dessert, the process would be the same (including straining out the solids). Some to try:
– 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and a scraped vanilla bean
– 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and a bunch of mint
– 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup blood orange juice and zest
– 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup lime juice, and mint (mojito!) You could stir in a glug of rum just before serving this one too!

Comments 4

  1. Reiko wrote:

    Anna, this is a great blog! Thank you for sharing! Your cookies look soooo good, and make me want to bake them again! I’ll look forward to your future posts!

    Posted 04 Mar 2010 at 3:30 am
  2. Anna wrote:

    I’m glad you are enjoying it! And as always, I look forward to your frequent and delicious posts as well.

    Posted 04 Mar 2010 at 6:49 am
  3. Lael wrote:

    I live in South Texas so snow is pretty much unheard of and the little bit we get once in a great while melts pretty much before it hits the ground. I don’t think any snow I could manage to scrap off the BBQ pit would be edible. I imagine you could use crushed or blended ice just as easily?

    Posted 25 Mar 2010 at 4:42 pm
  4. Anna wrote:

    Or, you could just move to Wisconsin! No? OK, yes, a finely crushed ice would still be lovely. Or, you could go the more traditional granita route, but you’d have to experiment a bit to get the right ratio of lemon simple syrup to water: I think I’d start by making the simple syrup in the recipe (yields one cup), then add an additional two cups of water. It should taste slightly sweeter than you’d like your end result to be, so add more or less water/syrup as needed. Pour everything into a shallow pan, place in the freezer, and then use a fork to scrape the frozen edges to the center about every 30 minutes or so until you have nice fluffy ice flakes (3-4 hours). You could also reserve a bit of the simple syrup to pour over just before serving, just to get that slushy, melting effect. Good luck!

    Posted 25 Mar 2010 at 7:19 pm

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