Note to self - when completing a blog posting be sure to save it! Grrrr Oh well, everything is better the second time through right?
Last week the cookbook I had ordered from amazon.ca arrived - the perfect scoop by David Lebovitz. If you do not know David you should visit his blog - he is an American chef living in Paris. His specialty is chocolate and all thing dessert. I have been following his blog every since the amazing Judy AKA Diva told me about it. I've tried a number of his recipes and they have all been amazing. When I heard about this book containing 246 pages of ice cream, sorbet, granita, and all of the necessary accompaniment recipes I ordered it immediately!
Tearing the box open, I knew right away that this cookbook would not disappoint. The ice cream recipes run the gamut from vanilla to pear and pecorino. The sorbet recipes have interesting flavour combinations such as strawberry rhubarb (one of my all-time favourite taste combinations) and the granita recipes cover everything from espresso to Mojito. The sauces and topping recipes are equally as decadent and if that wasn't enough he has chapters devoted to tasty treats to mix into the ice cream you make (i.e. marshmallows) and edible vessels in which to serve your home-made treats (i.e. ice cream cones). David - with this book you have shot my diet all to hell!!
Yesterday I decided to try one of the granita recipes. If you're not familiar with granita this is what Wikipedia says about it. We were sad to realize we had been in Italy for three weeks last fall without having tried it once. We shall do better next time!
The choice for yesterday's dinner: Champagne-Cassis Granita
The recipe was simple:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups champagne
1/3 cup creme de cassis
In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the Champagne. Stir in the creme de cassis.
Pour it into a freezable container that is 8 x 12 inches and has sides at least 2 inches high. I used a glass Pyrex dish and it worked fine.
I did learn that it is easier to pour the mixture into the dish CLOSE to the freezer as there was some sloppage while I was carrying the liquid container downstairs to the freezer.
Put the dish in the freezer (ensure it is flat!) and freeze until it is beginning to freeze around the edges. Generally this takes about an hour but this granita is lower to freeze because of the high alcohol content. It took about an hour and a half before it was freezing around the edges.
Using a fork stir the mixture breaking up the frozen parts near the edge and 'raking' them into the centre.
This is our granita at the 1 1/2 hour mark:
Every 30 minutes you need to stir it up with a fork, each time breaking any large crystals into smaller crystals.
This is the granita after 2 hours:
2 1/2 hours:
3 1/2 hours:
Finally it was ready. Lebovitz suggests freezing your serving dishes so that this particular granita doesn't melt too quickly. I scooped it into the frozen dishes and drizzled some additional cassis over top. The finished product was amazing - just like a Kir Royale. Now I wouldn't serve this dish to children (unless you wish to be arrested) but as a icy treat for adults - it can not be beat. Someone last night loved it so much that they even licked the dish (and then contemplated a second helping but I promised not to tell who - MOM!) Nonetheless, it was a HUGE success.