This past weekend I spent in Rome visiting a few friends and just enjoying the last days of summer. Unfortunately, I would say that the days I spent there were the hottest and muggiest that I had experienced all summer! Thankfully, Rome is full of gelaterias to help you stay cool.
I made a (few) stop(s) :) to one of my favorite gelaterias within walking distance of where I was staying in Trastevere: Fior di Luna. As I mentioned in my Tour del Gelato post about the gelateria, it’s not a flashy place. The gelato is not piled high in mountains with moka-shaped chocolate (coffee maker) or whole oranges or coconuts sticking out of it. Many a tourist walks by the gelateria and keeps walking until they reach one of the flashier, “Blue Ice” type gelaterias which will reward you with quantity rather than quality (and there’s a time and place for that, too). And that’s ok: more for me!
But this weekend I did something rare: I got a little cup and instead of choosing the normal 2-3 flavors the size provides you with, I got just one flavor: Uva Fragola. I love eating Uva Fragola, Concord Grapes, but when I saw the dark purple goodness of the Uva Fragola sorbetto, I knew I only wanted that.
And it was so good that I kept thinking about it, and decided to make it at home as a granita. I have to be honest that I normally look to David Lebovitz for inspiration for all things ice cream, so I opened up his The Perfect Scoop cookbook (I’ve made a few adaptions of recipes from that before: Watermelon Sorbetto Granita, Fig Sorbet).
My resulting recipe is a faint shadow of his but delicious nonetheless. I used a darker Fair Trade sugar, Mascobado, which I think really complimented the grapes.
Fresh Concord Grape “Uva Fragola” Granita
Note: Protect your workplace by working on a surface that is not porous or can be easily cleaned up. Any spills should be removed immediately as they maystain. (I found the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser cleaned up pretty well) As for your teeth after eating this, make sure to give a good scrub before going out in public! It will be difficult to sneak bites of this without someone else knowing.
Note 2: I recommend making this the morning of or the day before you need it as it’s much easier to thaw out a granita rather than try to speed up the freezing process!
700g Concord grapes (uva di fragola)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 cup (100g) mascobado sugar
1 1/2 cups (350ml) water
- Remove the grapes from the stems and place in a saucepan. Add half the water and half the sugar, and the lime juice and set on low to medium heat for a few minutes. Once the grapes are soft and easily squishable (technical term) against the side of the pan, take it off the heat and continue to smash the grapes to release them from their skins and seeds. You could use a potato masher to help the process along or the side of a wooden spoon.
- At this point, taste the mixture for sugar levels and add the rest of the sugar if necessary (I did).
- Once the mixture cools enough to handle (watch those splashes!), pass the mixture through a mesh strainer or food mill, stirring and continuing to smash as much juice as possible from the mixture. Discard the skins and seeds.
- Taste the mixture again, and if it’s too concentrated, add the rest of the water and more if necessary.
- Pour the mixture into a low tray or tupperware container. After the first hour, you can scrape the sides of the granita toward the center and continue to freeze it.
- To serve, thaw for a few minutes outside of the freezer and then use a fork to break up the granita into chunks, or scrape it with a spoon into serving dishes.
What would you pair this granita with?