Basil Granita with Peaches


The elegance of this clean, balanced combination of basil-flavored honeydew juice and sliced stone fruit belies its simplicity: The granita is essentially shave ice. Serve as an intermezzo or light dessert.


  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs and flowers for garnish

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 ½ cups fresh honeydew juice (from 1 ¼ pounds honeydew)

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or verjuice

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt

  • 2 peaches, halved lengthwise, pitted, and thinly sliced


  1. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add basil; cook until basil turns bright green, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath until cool, about 1 minute. Drain; pat dry.

  2. Stir together sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Add basil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool completely.

  3. Puree the basil mixture in a blender, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in honeydew juice. Refrigerate, covered, 8 to 12 hours.

  4. Using the back of a spoon, press basil mixture through a fine sieve into a nonreactive bowl. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Transfer to an 8-inch square nonreactive baking dish, and place in freezer. Rake with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is completely frozen, about 3 hours.

  5. Arrange peaches on 6 chilled serving plates, dividing evenly; top with granita. Garnish with basil sprigs and flowers.

Cook's Notes

Try a spicy variety of basil -- such as spicy globe or Greek -- if you like. You will need to use an electric juicer for the honeydew.

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