I have a small collection of recipes that I consider my "go to" recipes- dishes that I can put together with a small amount of ingredients, fuss, and time. This is one of them. It's elegance belies it's ease. I provide the recipe as a guide and hope that it be used as I use it- for any manner of citrus available. As I am resolutely on my ruby red grapefruit binge, they have been used here. However, the ice is equally love with lemon, lime or a combination therein.
I use the word "ice" because the end form really depends on what tools are utilized. I always hate it when I open a cookbook and see gorgeous photos and intriguing food, only to read on and find that I have none of the specialty equipment to make any of it. I now own an ice cream maker and can say that I consider making ice cream to be a perfect dessert solution (completed far in advance- days even, rather simple, delights everyone). However, if you do not have an ice cream maker, no worries. By freezing the citrus and simple syrup mixture in a metal pan, you can create a granita. If the mixture is freezed in an ice cream maker, the result is sorbet.
This recipe is adapted from Susan Branch's cookbook "Heart of the Home".
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cups citrus juice: the number of lemons, limes, or grapefruits will depend on their size.
citrus zest (for lemon or lime ice, I suggest about 2 tablespoons of zest)
1) Make the simple syrup- Place the water in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and boil until dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Congratulations you have now made simple syrup! (equal parts water and sugar, it is used in all kinds of desserts and cocktails)
2) Once the simple syrup is cooled, stir in the juice (For grapefruit ice, I use 1 1/2 cups of fresh juice, for lemon or lime ice 1 cup). If using, also stir in the zest.
3) For Granita: Pour mixture into a metal pan (I find a loaf pan works well) and freeze. When ready to serve, scrape a fork along the frozen mixture. It creates a light, shaved ice texture.
For Sorbet: Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.
A scoop of homemade ice cream or sorbet is pretty much bliss for me. For a good friend of ours, I once made coffee ice cream because I know he loves coffee. I knew it was a wholly successful gesture when a few months later he reciprocated the dinner invitation and served my husband and I a beautiful dish of vanilla and berry ice cream for dessert (from his new ice cream maker, natch).