Chef Steve: Grapefruit and Blood Orange Granita



A blog for a bold palette

Chef Steve Alls



Don't let the title scare you. I'm not one of those chefs that believe" if it ain't spicy you ain't cookin'". But I do believe in bold flavors and I also believe that flavors have to balance in any dish you cook. They should be vibrant and soulful. But enough of that…



Picture it…You are on summertime vacation in Italy. It seems like you have been flying for an entire day and you finally arrive at the hotel late, no dinner and you just want to crash. The next morning you wake up. After taking in the beauty from your veranda, all you can think about is breakfast. So you meander to the lobby and find the café. As you walk in you notice no one is eating steak and eggs with fried potatoes. Instead you see most people eating something that looks like a snow cone. So you ask the waiter what is that dish everyone is eating and he says matter-of- factly… granita with brioche bread!

Granita is a very interesting food. It is probably the easiest recipe that you will ever make, but yet it can have a very complex flavor with a few simple add ins. It all starts with water and sugar combined together to make a simple syrup and then it's wide open. You can make the base of it with citrus juices, coffee, soda, fruit purees, alcohol, or even a savory base like V8 juice or pureed cucumber. By adding herbs, spices, and extracts, you can bump up the flavor even more. The texture can vary also. Let me explain: after you put the mixture together it must go in the freezer for a period of time. You don't want to freeze the granita solid, so you must scrape and fluff this mixture every so often. Depending on how often you do this it changes the size of the crystal formation. It you did it constantly like in an ice cream machine the texture would be less coarse. If you were to scrape and fluff it only every two hours the consistency would be coarser.

Is it breakfast or dessert? That is up to you. I have a great granita recipe below and the last time I made this particular granita I made it as a dessert on Valentine's Day. I just thought the pinkish color was very February 14th…the things we do for love! As people were eating it, I had many comments on how this would be a great summertime dish. So…here we are. Grab your brioche!

I want to hear from you. If you have any comments about this recipe or any other culinary (or non-culinary) question, please email me at See you next week.

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Sugar ¾ cup
Water ¾ cup
Pomegranate Juice ½ cup
Blood Orange Juice ½ cup, fresh
Lemon Juice 1 ea, fresh
Grapefruit Juice ¾ cup, fresh
Champagne 2 cups
Lemon Zest 1 lemon
Sugar 2 tbsp

Bring water and sugar to a boil so that sugar dissolves completely. Cool to room temperature. Mix in pomegranate juice, blood orange juice, grapefruit juice and Champagne. Pour mixture into 8-inch square baking pan. Freeze mixture until firm, stirring every 2 hours for about 6 hours. For garnish, combine the sugar with the lemon zest and combine thoroughly. Rim the glass with the zest, sprinkle on top or both.

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