Not Without Salt » granita “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:42:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 grapefruit salad with sweet milk granita Sun, 08 Jan 2012 21:15:47 +0000 Read more »]]> 6655295609_fb76189378_b

In the weeks leading up to my trip to Morocco it was the tagines and fragrant spices that I anticipated. Thoughts of fatty, braised chunks of lamb studded with apricots and warming harissa made the days before I left move at a pace that would make a snail appear as a sprinter.

As one can expect, the food did not disappoint. There was couscous so perfectly prepared that my satisfaction in the store bought version has been crushed. A sweet and savory b’stilla laced with chicken and showered with cinnamon and powdered sugar and a chicken tagine with french fries – that’s right, FRENCH FRIES!! – sealed my love for this vibrant country. But it was the Moroccan breakfasts that I most long to recreate now that I’m home.

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Fresh squeezed orange juice greeted me nearly every morning and woke me up more effectively than three children jumping on my bed ever can. Beyond the juice there was an assortment of breads. Some resembling airy pancakes, others seemed to enjoy a leisurely bath in hot oil before settling into their position of my breakfast. With the breads there was always Amlou, honey, and assorted fruit preserves. Speaking of fruit; the hot Moroccan sun does wonders to intensify the sweetness. Bananas are nearly half the size and twice as sweet, grapes taste of candy, and the citrus requires no additional sugar to tame its pucker.


Proving that point was this salad. A simple salad made up of no more than four ingredients in stunning jewel tones and sweet, slivered dates. Its beauty drew me in but the taste left me pining for its presence during the days that followed.

Segmented grapefruit sat next to bright bites of lemon. The tartness took me by surprise as I had never simply eaten a bite of lemon, except maybe as a child to somehow impress other with my sustainability against the harsh sourness. With the addition of the dates, the entire bowl was perfectly sweet.


And then there’s mint. The herb that I had once relegated to tea and little else. Even refusing to allow it to be a final course garnish as it never made sense to me to add something for the color when the flavor was not wanted. Now there is rarely a day that goes buy when I don’t reach for the emerald leaves.

I’m home now and citrus season is in full swing along with the desire to enjoy a bit more fruits and vegetables ridding myself of nearly an entire month where sugar and butter made up the bulk of my diet. No regrets here, but it did leave me longing for the freshness of a salad such as this one.


The sweet milk granita is purely optional but turns this salad into a stunning, and healthful dessert. I love the ease of turning this sweet cream into a granita. After stirring the ingredients together I add it to a metal cake pan and pop the whole thing in the freezer. Every thirty minutes, or whenever I remember, I simply give the mix a quick stir with a fork to break up any large ice chunks, until the mixture is well-frozen. The resulting granita is flecked with vanilla beans, light ice crystals and a soft texture that melts into the crevices of the segmented citrus that it’s scooped over. You can also churn this mix in an ice cream maker if you want a smoother texture. The choice is yours.


When the presence of fry bread and fresh squeezed orange juice are missing from my mornings, this salad fills the void and reminds me of what Morocco tasted of.


Grapefruit Salad with Sweet Milk Granita

Grapefruit Salad

Inspired by a salad enjoyed at Heure Bleue Hotel in Essaouira, Morocco

Makes 4 smallish servings.

While I loved the puckering tang of the lemon in this salad I do prefer the much gentler sourness that comes from a Meyer lemon, so I've used that here instead.

2 large grapefruits, segmented

1 meyer lemon, segmented

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint

1/4 cup thinly sliced dates

Combine the citrus segments and the mint. Add the dates just before serving.

Finish with a small scoop of Sweet Milk Granita if you desire.

Sweet Milk Granita

adapted from

I love the simplicity of this granita and the fact that it doesn't need an ice cream maker. The resulting texture is light, with flaky ice crystals that melt freely into the citrus. Usually I would oppose this texture when cream is involved but for this it works. If you prefer a perfectly creamy texture feel free to churn in an ice cream maker.

1 cup  (9 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups (9 oz) hot water

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and stir well. If you are using an ice cream maker, chill this mixture completely before churning.

If turning into a granita add mixture to a metal pan (I used a 9" square cake pan - the bigger the pan the faster it will freeze). Let sit in the freezer for about an hour initially then break up mixture and any formed ice crystals with a fork every 30 minutes until completely frozen. This process will give the desired light texture with uniform ice crystals - the mark of a well-made granita.

Best served the day it's made.

*If you happen to forget about the granita and it freezes solid you can either remelt and start again or you can process in the mix in a food processor to break up ice crystals.

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Frozen Dessert Recipes Tue, 19 Aug 2008 04:13:49 +0000 Read more »]]> French Ice Cream –  a very rich ice cream which is made from an egg custard. Contains a high ratio of cream to milk to eggs. Yum.
Gelato – is also custard based but contains more eggs and milk and less cream. Because of this less air is incorporated in the process of churning which produces a less-rich but more dense and intensely flavored frozen dessert.
Granita – an Italian dessert in which a liquid of choice (fruit juice or puree, coffee etc.) is combined with a simple syrup (a syrup made with sugar and water) and other flavorings of choice, then frozen in a way that creates beautiful flaky and course textured ice crystals.
Semi-freddo – an Italian dessert meaning semi-frozen. Often is similar to a mousse which is then frozen in a mold. The ingredients are such that when frozen they never become completely solid.
Sorbet –  is churned like ice cream but the actual mix is made without dairy

Coffee Granita

4 cups water

1 cup ground espresso-roast coffee

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/8 tsp salt

Bring water to a boil and whisk in coffee. Strain the coffee. Stir in the sugar. Cool mixture to room temperature. Pour mixture into a 9×13×2 pan and freeze for 20 minutes. Scrap the mixture with a fork. Continue to scrap every 10-15 minutes until thick and grainy. If thick chunks form you can process in a food processor then place back in the freezer.

Serve in beautiful, chilled dessert or martini classes with a small dollop of cold cream. Perfect for a light summer dessert.

Apple, Ginger, Basil Granita

Makes 6 servings.

3 1/2 cups sparkling cider
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp salt

Grate ginger into sparkling cider using a microplane.

Pulse together sugar and basil in a blender until sugar is bright green and basil is finely ground, then stir into apple juice until sugar is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into an 8- to 9-inch metal baking pan.

Freeze, stirring and crushing lumps with a fork every half hour, until evenly frozen, 3 to 4 hours. Scrape with a fork to lighten texture, crushing any lumps.

Serve in beautiful glasses with thinly sliced granny smith apples.

Chocolate Sorbet

David Lebovitz

2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk, for 45 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.

Watermelon and Lime Bars

adapted from

Watermelon Sorbet

1 (2 1/2-pounds) piece of watermelon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp lime zest

Line a 9-inch square baking pan (2 inches deep) with plastic wrap or parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Put lined pan in freezer.

Coarsely chop watermelon flesh (leave seeds in), then purée enough to yield 2 1/2 cups in a blender.

Add sugar, juice, zest, salt and tequila to purée and blend 30 seconds.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream maker. Transfer to lined baking pan, smoothing top. Put in freezer to firm up.

Lime Semifreddo

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

1/4 tsp salt

Whisk together condensed milk, zest, salt and juice. Beat cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then gently fold into condensed-milk mixture.

Spread over sorbet, smoothing top. Freeze until solid, at least 2 hours.

To serve, lift dessert from pan using plastic wrap. Cut into 12 bars and serve on chilled plates.

Cooks’ note: Dessert can be frozen (covered once completely frozen) up to 3 days. Cut into bars just before serving.

Pistachio Gelato

3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios (about 3 3/4 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp salt

Finely grind 3/4 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar and salt in processor. Combine pistachio mixture, milk and almond extract in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Whisk yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens slightly and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 8 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat. Refrigerate custard until cold, about 3 hours.

Fudge Sauce

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

Bring cream and corn syrup to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and salt. Whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until cool but still pourable, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.


adapted from Frozen Desserts

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, room temp.

4 egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tbs. all purpose flour

1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

Sift powdered sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Very slowly beat until all sugar is incorporated. Turn mixer to medium the beat until lighter in color. Add egg whites one at a time. Beat until smooth after each addition. Add vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt and cornstarch. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined and mixture is smooth.

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