Granita recipes are a great way to use up a lot of fruit that you may have lying around. It's not uncommon to buy a bit more fruit than will actually be eaten in a timely manner and then be left with the possibility of it going bad. Sure, you can freeze the fruit for smoothies and things like that, but even that can be forgotten in the freezer and you're just stuck with freezer-burned fruit. This is just another way to use sweet berries and the tropical deliciousness that is the mango. Whether you have fresh fruit or fresh frozen, this will still be wonderful. The fact that it's a practically guilt free dessert is a huge bonus. It's also really easy to make, as long as you can exercise some patience. It does take time to acheive the flaky crystals that make a good granita, but the results are well worth the wait.
Don't feel bound to eating this all by itself. Some of the best granita desserts I've had have been served with contrasting fruit coulis (which I was tempted to do with this one but got pressed for time) or with yummy whipped cream. I think this is perfect all on it's own, though; the sweet tartness of the berries coupled with the exotic flavor of the mango makes for a refreshing departure from the richness of winter desserts and makes you think of and taste the summer that's almost around the corner.
Strawberry-Mango Granita (serves 4; Total cost per serving: ~ $1.95)
1 1/2 c strawberries
1 1/2 c chopped mango
1 c hot water
2/3 c sugar
Extra strawberries or mango pieces for garnish
Combine the water & sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Puree the strawberries and mango chunks in a blender until almost smooth (this way you still have a bit of fruit texture instead of straight ice at the end). Add the syrup and blend together until completely combined. Pour the mixture into a 13" x 9" x 2" metal baking pan and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and use a fork to scrape the icy edges inward toward the center of the pan. Place back in the freezer and repeat the process every half hour or so until completely frozen. You should be left with flaky, icy granules. Serve in wine or martini glasses and garnish with extra berries or mango pieces. If making ahead of time, place the finished granita into an airtight container and keep in the freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!