Originating in Sicily, the frozen dessert known as granita is a wonderful way to showcase whatever fruit is in season, as with this watermelon version that gets a flavor boost from a basil-infused sugar syrup—the perfect dessert to make on National Watermelon Day! Garnish this icy treat with a slice of lime or a sprig of fresh basil, if you’d like.
- 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) water
- 4 fresh basil leaves, lightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 cups (1 1/2 lb./750 g) cubed seedless watermelon
- Juice of 2 limes
1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, basil and salt and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard the basil leaves. Let the syrup cool to room temperature.
2. In a blender, combine the watermelon, lime juice and syrup and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture about every hour, using a fork to break up the ice crystals as they form, until the mixture is granular and slushy, about 4 hours. Cover and freeze for up to 1 day, or serve immediately, scooping the granita into chilled glasses or bowls. Serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen