Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spiced Clementine-Honey Granita

My exploits with clementines continue! Even though it's bitterly cold outside right now, I've been in the mood to make some sort of frozen dessert. So here's what I put together:

Spiced Clementine-Honey Granita
Yields: 4 cups

3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp clementine zest
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 whole star anise
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 cup clementine juice (I cut mine with some orange juice)
3 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until mixture is thick and reduced to 2 cups. Discard star anise, bay leaf and cloves. Cool.

At this point you can strain the mixture if you want a clear final product. I did not strain because I liked the flecks of orange zest. Add clementine and lemon juices to the mixture. If you want sorbet at this point, I would chill this mixture in the fridge, then put it into an ice cream maker. If you want a granita, put the mixture into a container and place in the freezer. Every 30-60 minutes, scrape the granita with a fork to break up the large chunks.

Spiced Clementine-Honey Granita

The end result is a complex combination of flavors. The clementine and honey dominates, but tones of clove, anise and bay leaf come through. I did not think bay leaf would be this good in a dessert, but it was quite amazing. I've never made a granita before and part of me felt it was going to be like eating a slushie without the flavorings. But it turns out the ice of a granita melts quickly, exuding the delicious flavors onto your taste buds.

Spiced Clementine-Honey Granita
The good thing is that one scoop is very satisfying. I don't feel compelled to make a huge sundae like I would with ice cream. So this dessert not only takes advantage of seasonal clementines, but it's also a great way to start off 2010 on the right foot.

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