I love fresh fruit desserts! Granitas are excellent because they keep the bursting, fresh flavor of fruit waiting patiently in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy it... plus, they're super easy! Notes in parentheses are specific ingredients I used; use whatever you have. This granita is a brilliant, permeating red and was inspired by a recipe in Saveur. —Rebecca Vitale
about 1 quart
sour cherries, stems and pits removed just before use (montmorency)
white vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
granulated sugar (organic cane)
citrus juice (yuzu-- found bottle at Asian market!)
Place cherries in a large bowl. Add vermouth and kirsch, sprinkle sugar on top and let sit, covered, for a few hours to overnight if possible (in fridge if it's too hot otherwise). This will draw out the fruit juices and dissolve a lot of the sugar. Note: there is no heat on the fruit in this recipe. If you are concerned about leaving the bowl out of the fridge overnight, either put it in the fridge or leave it out of the fridge and, before proceeding, place contents in a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to brief boil, let simmer 5 minutes at lower temp, and let cool. I prefer not to heat the fruit if possible, though!
Add citrus juice and stir to dissolve any remaining sugar. At this point, mixture may be kept in refrigerator for a day or so if you need to buy time.
Blend in food processor, in batches if necessary. I let each batch run a few minutes, intermittently scraping down sides. Strain however you like; I used a cheesecloth-lined strainer and pressed down with a large ladle. Do whatever you like with the solids (and the pits, for that matter). Pour filtered mixture into a large, non-reactive metal mixing bowl and place in freezer.
Remove bowl from freezer every 30min, scraping down sides and mixing the entire volume around. You will notice the sides start freezing first and breaking off in chunks; I like to use a whisk for as long as I can to make the consistency smooth. Once the volume is mostly frozen, you may transfer it to your container of choice (I do recommend at least starting off in a large, round, metal bowl, though; if the bowl is too small, frozen mixture-mixing can get messy; same thing if bowl is not round). This part usually takes 3-4 hours. Sometimes I "forget" toward the end and the granita just ends up a little more solid so I have to shave it instead of scooping... still delicious!
Scoop (or shave) and enjoy! Alcohol content usually helps to keep final product a little softer and more manageable in terms of scooping. Also great to float in champagne, etc.