Two great frozen desserts are granitas, which are coarse-grained Italian ices, and sorbets, which have a creamy texture even when they’re not made with milk.
For both, begin by pureeing the fruit that is in abundance now. Add super-fine sugar and fresh citrus juice for a tart twist that adds depth to the fruit flavor.
Spend a few minutes with the fruit you’ve just juiced. Carefully scrape out the remaining shell of lemons, limes, oranges, or even grapefruits, removing the pith (white membrane) with a spoon and — presto — you’ve got serving bowls. Take a thin slice from the bottom of the bowl so it will stay level.
Sorbets can be made in an ice cream maker, but it isn’t necessary. When you’re done processing, heap the mixture into the bowls and freeze for several hours. Alternatively, you can add the puree directly and freeze; the result will be no less delicious.
For granita, put the base into a shallow pan in the freezer and “rake” it with a fork every 30 minutes for two hours. This breaks up the crystals as the mixture begins to solidify, giving it a rough, homey texture — like a slush.
Fruit isn’t the only base you can use. Leftover strong coffee makes a wonderful granita, too. Serve in espresso cups with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Is it iced coffee or coffee ice cream? Another idea is to add vanilla-flavored yogurt to fresh-squeezed orange juice. Make individual servings by pouring into orange halves and you have the taste of a creamsicle.
Plan to enjoy your frozen confections the same day, when the flavor is at its peak.
Fruit icesMakes 3 cups2 cups fruit — strawberries, mangoes, peaches
3/4 cup super-fine sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
1. Combine fruit, sugar, and juices in a blender or food processor. Mix well.
2. Pour into a bowl and add the zest. Stir until combined.
3. Process in an ice cream maker according to instructions or pour directly into prepared fruit bowls.
4. Place fruit bowls on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 2-3 hours.
5. To make granita, pour fruit mixture into a shallow pan. Rake the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes until you have a slushy consistency. This takes about 2 hours.
Adapted from “How to Cook Everything,” by Mark Bittman (Macmillan USA)