I think granitas are great for the home cook as they are so easy to make and bring a little of the smartness we expect in restaurants to your own family table. This delightful version seems to suit either the beginning or the end of a meal depending on what else you are serving.
Various garnishes can be added when serving, such as fresh elderflower blossom when in season or later in the summer the lovely leaves and petals on the marigold Tagetes.
If you can find the whimsical looking tiny cucumber - the cucamelon –then one of those on each serving would be lovely and a definite conversation starter. At Christmas, a few pomegranate seeds or myrtle berries would be an appropriate and delicious addition.
The amount of juice you can extract from a cucumber does vary throughout the year and, without doubt, large home-grown cucumbers yield more juice than the somewhat more slender imported varieties, so perhaps it is worth having a little extra cucumber to hand to ensure you end up with the 350ml of juice required in the recipe.
The process of making the icy granita is simplicity itself and just requires a little commitment from you to return to the freezer to give the ice the occasional stir up.
- 500g cucumber
- 3 tablespoons of lime juice
- 115ml elderflower cordial
- Optional garnishes; elderflower blossoms, leaves or petals of Tagetes marigold or a cucamelon very thinly sliced, pomegranate seeds, myrtle berries.
- Peel the cucumber and cut into rough dice. Place in a blender and puree until smooth. Pass the cucumber puree through a fine sieve pushing to extract the juice and fine pulp - and you should end up with 350ml of the strained juice and pulp.
- Discard any extra. Add the lime juice and cordial to the cucumber and mix well.
- Place the juice in a pyrex bowl and place in the freezer and freeze until nearly set. Break up the partially frozen ice with a fork or a whisk until it looks rather slushy and return to the freezer.
- Refreeze and repeat the process three more times to achieve a flaky and shard-like consistency. The granita is then ready to serve or can be stored until you want to serve it. I keep the granita covered in the freezer to protect the delicious and delicate flavour.
- Serve the granita in chilled bowls or glasses just as it is or with some of the suggested garnishes.