The coarse crystals in granitas distinguish them from other frozen desserts. For the right texture, scrape the granitas every half hour for 4 1/2 hours. Same-day preparation is best -- after too long the consistency will change from light and layered to overly dense.
- Yield: Makes about 2 quarts
Photography: Sang An
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2006
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus small sprigs for garnish
- 5 cups fresh orange juice (from about 12 large oranges)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Let syrup stand 15 minutes.
Stir together orange juice, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour basil syrup through a fine sieve into the orange juice mixture; discard basil.
Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch shallow nonreactive dish. Chill in freezer until edges are frozen, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from freezer; scrape with fork tines, pulling from edges into center. Return to freezer. Repeat process every 30 minutes until mixture is the texture of shaved ice, about 4 1/2 hours. Spoon into serving bowls, and garnish with basil.