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The Endlessly-Customizable Frozen Dessert that Works for Any Diet or Dinner

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We're here to help you throw the most inspired summer dinner parties yet. We partnered with Pure Leaf Tea House Collection to bring you an elegant (but simple!) dessert to serve to your dinner guests.

If you’re not familiar with granitas, it’s time to get acquainted!

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The first time I visited a gelateria in Italy, I noticed that it also carried a selection of granita (an Italian dessert consisting of frozen ice, water, and flavoring), which was a far cry from the Italian ice we have in the US (I’m from Philly so to me, it’s water ice). I found that granitas are much more than standard Italian ice, and the flavors were sophisticated—Sicilian lemon and basil, almond, and espresso chip for example. Granita was the perfect answer to a sweltering day of walking around Rome, when all I really wanted was a refreshing icy treat to cool down with.

Granita reigns from Sicily but is available all across Italy, with different regions favoring distinct freezing techniques to create various levels of texture, ranging from coarse to smooth. Luckily, you don’t have to be in Italy to savor this simple and elegant frozen dessert. No need for an ice cream maker either! All you need is some freezer space, a baking dish, and a fork—this 3-ingredient recipe allows for creativity to suit all preferences.

The base recipe starts with making a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar), and what you add to it is up to you—let your imagination run free! Put summer fruits to good use, like pureed watermelon or blended strawberries, or even your drink of choice, like iced tea.

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Iced Tea Granita
Iced Tea Granita

As the granita freezes, use a fork to rake the ice. The less often you stir it, the larger your chunks will be, resembling large crystalline snowflakes. The more you stir the mixture, the finer your granita will be, like sorbet. And there you have it, a light and chic frozen dessert that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser all summer long.

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Iced Tea Granita

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Serves 2
  • 250 milliliters (roughly 1 cup) freshly brewed tea, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces caster sugar
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Iced tea granita is just a starting point

  • To make any fruit flavor pop: Just add citrus, like lime or lemon juice, or infuse the simple syrup with aromatics such as basil, lavender, or lemongrass.
  • Channel your favorite beverages: Make an Arnold Palmer–inspired combo by pairing iced tea granita with a scoop of lemon sorbet. Or make a twist on flavored sweet tea by topping an iced tea granita with a scoop of your favorite fruit sherbet.
  • Have fun with toppings: Add fresh fruit or whipped cream on top . For the more adventurous, try a drizzle of pomegranate molasses or a good-quality balsamico di Modena.
  • Make it a boozy affair: We like a Negroni in all forms—add gin, campari, and vermouth to your granita base before freezing. For a spin on a mojito, simmer the simple syrup mixture with fresh mint leaves, strain, and add lime juice and white rum.
  • For a more refined approach: Splash your favorite cordial, like elderflower or orange blossom, onto the granita before serving.

What are the best granita flavors you've made? Tell us in the comments.

We partnered with Pure Leaf Tea House Collection to bring you ideas for throwing the most inspired summer dinner parties yet. Try your hand at granita—snag Pure Leaf Tea House Collection iced teas here.

Tags: pure leaf tea house collection, italian, frozen dessert, granita