Though it may not feel like it just yet, this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Despite the cooler temps in many places, folks are busting out the barbeques, lawn chairs and slip & slides, enjoying the long Memorial Day weekend and getting into the swing of all things summer.
In honor of this lazy three-day weekend of cookouts and potlucks, parades and local festivals, I decided to make a dessert that’s not only perfect for the start of the season, but all summer long: Sangranita. Yep, that’s a granita made from sangria, and it is the best “adult” dessert I’ve made to date.
Part dessert, part cocktail, this spiked frozen confection is a fabulous multitasker, as it allows you to enjoy tasty spirits while cooling off at the same time. Since the focus is not on the vintage or subtle nuances of the wine itself, it’s a great way to stay on budget, allowing you the freedom to use a less expensive wine than what you may normally buy to drink on its own.
Making Sangranita is also a good way to use many of the fabulous fruits that are in season right now. From nectarines to cherries, you can use almost any of your favorite fruits to add the same sort of texture & color that you’d find in the beverage version of sangria. (And on those balmy summer nights after days so hot that things just don’t cool down fast enough, you’ll end up with that tasty beverage version anyway, which is always a welcome treat.)
Just a quick note of common sense & caution: please do not serve this around minors. Though it’s icy and fruity and pretty, this is definitely a dessert meant only for adults, so please exercise good judgment when serving. This one’s best saved for cocktail parties or dinners when children are not present. Not a drinker or can’t leave the kids with grandma? Make a non-alcoholic version with cranberry or pomegranate juice; just be sure to lower the amount of sugar in the recipe.
Other than that, this is easy to prepare, refreshingly delicious and one of the very few desserts with a kick! Let’s check out the recipe.
Sangranita! (makes 6-8 servings; total cost per serving $1)
1 1/2 c water
1/2 c raw sugar
1 c chopped fruit (apples, peaches, oranges, etc.)
6 4-6 oz. glasses (juice, wine, etc.)
In a small saucepan combine the water & sugar and bring to a low boil. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine the wine and simple syrup in a large bowl and mix well. Carefully pour the wine mixture into a large metal baking pan or cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Check the mixture after about 45 minutes and gently scrape the icy bits around the edges toward the center of the pan. Return to the freezer and freeze for another 30 minutes. Repeat this process until the granita has formed into icy, flaky crystals, usually about 2 hours (depending on freezer settings).
To serve, spoon a generous amount of granita into the bottom of each glass. Add a couple spoonfuls of the chopped fruit, then top with another layer of granita. Garnish with extra fruit, serve with a spoon & a straw (just in case!), and enjoy!
Granita can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.