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Lemon-Lime Granita

Ices made from various citrus fruits are popular all over southern Italy. Nothing is more refreshing on a hot day than this simple tangy granita. Use both lemons and limes, as is done here, or only one fruit. For a smoother-textured ice, freeze the ingredients in a solid block, cut it into chunks and then process in a food processor until smooth. The granita can also be frozen in an ice cream maker. Serve with a splash of grappa, if desired, for a sophisticated lift.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Add the lime and lemon juices and zests to the chilled sugar syrup and stir well. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch baking pan or other metal pan. Place in the freezer until ice crystals form around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and, using a metal spoon, stir the ice into the center of the pan. Continue freezing and stirring the mixture every 30 minutes until frozen solid, about 2 1/2 hours total.

To serve, using the side of a spoon, scrape off the ice crystals. (If the granita is too firm to scrape, let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften slightly.) Spoon into wine goblets or parfait glasses and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).