The Best Anti-Inflammatory Summer Dessert Requires Zero Skill To Make
While ice cream has deservedly won its place as a summer staple, making the treat at home requires special equipment—and if you want a dairy-free version, be prepared to dive deep into recipe land.
That's why, while we all still scream for ice cream, we humbly propose a new summer staple—one that's much easier to make, with a whole host of potential health benefits. We're talking about granita. Granita is an Italian dessert that essentially tastes like a grown-up version of your favorite childhood snow cone. It takes just a few hours to make (very little of which time is active—mostly, you're waiting for it to freeze) and doesn't require any special tools or equipment. You don't even really need a recipe!
The key is the ratio: You want to add about 20% sweetener to whatever liquid base you use to create the proper texture. The crystals in the sweetener wedge themselves in between the water molecules, so instead of getting rock-hard ice, you get a fluffy, soft dessert. Traditional recipes call for cane sugar, but you can successfully make granita with unrefined sweeteners like honey and maple syrup (stevia and monk fruit don't have the same sugar structures and thus won't be a good substitute).
As for the liquid base itself? Go crazy! You can blend some veggies with water (jalapeño + spinach + lime is bright and spicy) or start with a watery fruit like watermelon or cantaloupe. You're looking for a liquid consistency of juice, although there's no need to strain your mixture—the pulp adds additional fiber and thus health benefits to the dessert. Play around with teas, spices, and herbs (white tea and basil is an antioxidant-rich combo that tastes like a walk in a warm garden).
Once you have your base, add your sweetener and taste the results—it should be a teensy bit too sweet for your preference. Freezing foods dulls their flavors, so you'll lose some of that sweetness in the freezer. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, like a loaf pan or an 8-by-8-inch pan. Pop it in the freezer. After 30 minutes, use a fork to scrape the granita, fluffing the ice crystals as they form (if there aren't any at the beginning, don't worry—they'll appear with time!). This, along with the sweetener, makes the final result light and airy. When the entire mixture resembles a snow cone, it's finished and can be stored in the freezer until you're ready to eat it!
Add some fresh herbs or fruit when you're ready to serve, or just scoop it into a bowl and spoon it out as is—either way, it's the perfect easy, dairy-free, antioxidant-rich summer treat!
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