This zesty watermelon granita recipe is my July discovery of the month that pulls together a few of Abruzzo’s most readily available ingredients & flavours at the start of summer. It is amazing how creative you can actually be when feeling fuzzily far too hot and laziness kicks in – not wanting the fiddle of pips that make an otherwise delicious melon such a chore to eat on a hot summer’s day.
Never a big dessert cook, I particularly didn’t fancy boiling a syrup over the hob, hence turning to honey not just because it is healthier & tastier but for a very practical reason too: sugar fiends don’t let that put you off, Abruzzo honey comes in all manner of flower flavours and is some of the best I have tried on my small journeys. A recent acquisition for our store cupboard was Peperoncino Acacia Honey which is fantastic drizzled on Pecorino Cheese as well as making a wonderful marinade when barbecuing Pleurotus mushrooms. It is this that lent itself perfectly to the chunky watermelon granita to make it not just refreshing, but have a combined tickly zing too which can sometimes almost be left behind in all those start-of-summer desserts.
The most important thing with this watermelon recipe has to be that Italia, my octogenarian neighbour and food goddess liked it! Hence me publishing my first ever recipe; if she thinks it is okay it must be alright! A big thanks to her for letting me use her freezer, you need one of these rather than a top-set mini fridge freezer that won’t be cool enough for it to set the granita, and in addition for use of her sieve that she makes her passata with. We had some fun & games getting to this ‘tomato mincer’, as Abruzzo housewives have separate sieves for flour and all sorts of other ingredients so a standard request to borrow a sieve can take an evening to get the right one, but a great way of learning another word – in this case setaccio.
Watermelon & Peperoncino Honey Granita
500 ml of Fresh Watermelon Juice
Juice of 1 Lemon
4 dessert spoonfuls of Honey with Peperoncino
5 Mint leaves finely chopped
Chopped Basil leaves to garnish
Chop up approximately ¼ of an average sized watermelon to make 500 ml juice. Add this to an electric blender (if you are using a manual sieve to run the melon through you obviously don’t have the problem of having to de-pip first!)
Mix in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon & the honey. If you don’t have peperoncini honey, you could try adding half a very finely chopped diavolo chilli to give the same kick. Blend well together.
Pour the blend into a dish that you would you use for lasagne or similar, sprinkle with the mint and put into the freezer.
Every 3 hours remove and break up the ice crystals with a fork.
Once set break up roughly one final time with a fork and add into glasses.
Serve with either a little chopped basil or mint garnish.
You can buy Abruzzo Peperoncino Honey in the US from the NY Based online store Abruzzo Pantry . For Europe you can order direct at the producer Girlanda by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can’t order online & their website is a little out of date not listing all products but shipping is possible.. alternatively come over to Abruzzo for a break, go tasting and buy a small pot to take home…