This berry granita is made with fresh or frozen berries and lavender simple syrup, and is served with whipped ricotta. No ice cream maker needed!
A few summers ago, I wandered aimlessly with the husband through the blistering heat of the Tuscan sun, eating as many cold things as possible.
I mostly ate gelato, because well-- gelato.
Along the way, however, I also found myself devouring gelato-filled cannoli-- a miraculous treat that I did not know existed-- and of course, granita.
What is Granita?
Granita is an icy frozen treat that's traditionally made with water, sugar, and lemon juice.
Fancy Dinner Factoid: Granita can also be served as a palate cleanser between meal courses.
My favorite thing about this berry granita (and actually, any flavor granita) is that it's ridiculously easy to make at home, no ice cream maker required.
This granita recipe features berries, lavender syrup, and whipped ricotta.
Using Wild Berries
If you're using wild berries, make sure to taste them first.
Sometimes wild berries are incredibly sweet, but sometimes they're not nearly as sweet as store-bought.
If they're tart, you might want to make extra simple syrup.
Sweeten the granita to taste before freezing. It should be just a little bit sweeter than you want before it goes into the fridge, because things taste less sweet once frozen.
How to Make Berry Granita
All granita recipes will tell you the same thing-- blend the ingredients together, stick them in the freezer, and scrape, scrape, scrape.
Every 30 minutes for 2 hours, rake the mixture back and forth with a fork. Raking it will help keep ice crystals from forming, and keep it from setting into a giant frozen, delicious (but impossible to eat) block of ice.
Yes, you really do need to remember to scrape it, which might seem annoying, until you remember that it's hot outside, and sticking your head in the freezer isn't really a bad thing.
I recommend setting a kitchen timer.
What if I Forget to Stir the Berry Granita?
If you forget to scrape your granita with a fork, you might need to leave it on the counter for a few minutes to let it thaw. Once it's thawed enough, rake it with a fork.
Your granita will probably have bigger ice crystals. It'll still be delicious.
The ricotta is here to cut the sweetness, and add a creamy texture to this icy dish.
Serve the granita with a dollop of whipped ricotta on top. Take a bite, close your eyes, and pretend you're in Italy.
Berry Granita with Whipped Ricotta
- 2 cups fresh berries (blackberry, raspberry, strawberry etc), fresh or frozen
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender petals
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Whipped Ricotta (Optional):
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- If using frozen berries, set them out to thaw before proceeding.Make a simple syrup by mixing the sugar, lavender petals, and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, and then simmer 5 minutes. Strain out the lavender by pouring syrup through a mesh sieve into another container. Set aside to cool.
- Put berries into a food processor or blender and purée. Add vinegar and lemon juice to food processor and blend more. Add the lavender syrup and blend again.
- Pour entire mixture into an 8"x8" pan or a medium casserole dish.Set pan uncovered on a level surface in the freezer for 2-3 hours, scraping with a fork every 30 minutes. Pay extra attention to the edges, making sure to scrape the frozen fruit mixture away from the side of the container. When it's ready, your granita should be a light and flaky mixture.Tip: Set a timer so that you don't forget to scrape the granita.
- Optionally, make the whipped ricotta before serving. Add ricotta and sugar to a bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Serve the ricotta on top of the granita.
- Store leftover granita in an airtight container in the freezer, and leftover ricotta in the fridge.