The City Magazine Since 1975

Peach-Basil Granita

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INGREDIENTS: 

4 qts. water
1 Tbs. salt
1 lb. peaches, about 12 depending on size
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups water
6 Tbs. fresh basil, washed and sliced

DIRECTIONS: 

First, prepare a peach puree. In a large pot, bring four quarts water and salt salt to a boil. In the meantime, score the tops of one pound of peaches (about 12) and prepare a bowl of ice water. 

Once the water is boiling, gently place the peaches into the pot for two minutes. Remove the peaches from the hot water and immediately plunge them into the ice water. Peel the skins—but do not discard. Remove the pits and place the peaches into blender to puree. Measure two cups and reserve. (Any extra puree can be frozen and stored for a later use.) 

For the granita: In a saucepan, bring four cups water, sugar, basil, and reserved peach skins to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, pour the unstrained liquid into a bowl, and chill. Once cool, strain the skins and basil and add two cups of the peach puree. Stir to combine, and pour the mixture in a flat-bottomed pan that can be frozen.

Making the “snow:” Place the dish in the freezer and begin to let it set. Check the liquid every 30 minutes, and once the edges start to freeze, scrape and stir the crystallizing liquid with a fork. Return the pan to the freezer and let it set for another 30 minutes, then scrape and stir. (The object is to break up the ice crystals as the mixture freezes, otherwise it’ll turn into a block of ice.) Continue this process every half hour—then at shorter intervals once it’s halfway frozen—until the granita is completely frozen and resembles icy snow. 

Serving and storing: Scoop some into a dish only when you are ready to serve; it’ll melt quickly. (Chapman garnishes hers with fresh raspberries and a candied lemon slice.) Stored in an airtight container in the freezer, the granita will keep for roughly two months.