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Image / Editorial

The vegan alternative to ice cream that everyone is talking about


by Meg Walker
24th May 2018
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Granitas are a little underrated. They are really very simple to make, they allow for many a combination and are always a perfect dinner party palate cleanser to impress your guests. They are also worth considering as a vegan alternative to ice creams. Play around with combinations and flavours using a basic sugar syrup and juice mix or infused sugar syrup. Use what’s in season for a really cheap dinner party dazzler.


Honeysuckle & Hibiscus

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
3 handfuls fresh honeysuckle flowers, plus extra to decorate
1 tbsp dried whole hibiscus flowers
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
225g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Method
Place the honeysuckle and hibiscus flowers and cinnamon in a heatproof bowl, then pour over 700ml water. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 48 hours at room temperature.

Strain into a clean bowl, discarding the flowers and cinnamon, and set aside.

Make a sugar syrup by combining 250ml water and the sugar in a pan, then heat gently for 2 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice and the flower-infused water.

Pour into a deep baking tray or shallow freezerproof dish and put in the freezer for 1 hour. Using a fork, scrape the iced mixture, stirring the crystals from around the edges into the centre and mashing well.

Return to the freezer and repeat the process three more times every hour or so until the mixture is completely frozen (it should be the texture of snow).

Fork the granita up roughly to serve and serve in glasses or bowls, decorated with fresh honeysuckle blooms.

 

Violet & Mint

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
4 handfuls fresh violets
480ml boiling water
500g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
small handful of fresh mint

Method
Place the violets in a heatproof bowl, then pour over the boiling water. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight at room temperature.

The next day, strain through a sieve into a saucepan, squishing the violets as you go. Stir in the sugar and heat slowly until very gently simmering, stirring. Don’t boil, just heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice if you want purple liquid – without it will stay blue. Set aside to cool.

Now pick off and reserve the mint flowers, then pick and finely chop the mint leaves. Once the syrup is completely cool, add the chopped mint.

Pour into a deep baking tray or shallow freezerproof dish and follow the instructions for freezing from the above recipe.

Fork the granita up roughly and serve in glasses or bowls, decorated with fresh violets and the reserved mint flowers.

 

Orange Blossom, Watermelon & Carnation

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
225g caster sugar
1 handful fresh carnation petals, unsprayed, plus extra blooms to decorate
2 tbsp orange blossom water
450g prepared watermelon, puréed and strained to make 500ml

Method
In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and 240ml water to the boil over a medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat, then simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the carnation petals. Leave to cool, then add the orange blossom water and strain through a sieve. Mix the syrup and watermelon juice together.

Pour into a deep baking tray or shallow freezerproof dish and follow the instructions for freezing in the first recipe.

Fork the granita up roughly and serve decorated with fresh carnation blooms.

 

Rose, Carnation & Basil

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
200g fresh rose petals, unsprayed and perfumed, plus extra to decorate
200g fresh carnation petals, unsprayed
500g caster sugar
2 sprigs of basil, leaves picked and stalks roughly chopped, plus extra sprigs to decorate
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp rose water, to taste

Method
Place the rose and carnation petals in a bowl with the sugar and basil, stir gently to combine, then cover with a tea towel. Leave overnight.

The next day, strain through a sieve into a saucepan, add 750ml water and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in the lemon zest and juice and the rose water.

Pour into a deep baking tray or shallow freezerproof dish and follow the instructions for freezing in the first recipe.

Fork the granita up roughly and serve in glasses or bowls, decorated with fresh rose petals and basil sprigs.

 

Extracted from The Art of Edible Flowers: Recipes and ideas for floral salads, drinks, desserts and more by Rebecca Sullivan (Kyle Books, approx €11.50). Photograph by Nassima Rothacker.