Zesty Lemon Granita is very refreshing to the palate and thus may be served as an intervening course for formal dinners before the main course or a great, simple dessert in summertime.  In Sicily, lemon granita is served at any time of day, even as a breakfast dish, accompanied by a pastry and espresso.

Zesty Lemon Granita

Zesty Lemon Granita
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Cups water
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the lemon juice, zest, and sugar. Simmer to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.
  1. TRADITIONAL METHOD Transfer syrup to medium nonreactive bowl; cool to room temperature. Freeze, stirring every 30 minutes to incorporate frozen portion of mixture back into the syrup. As mixture freezes, scrape spoon across the nearly frozen mixture to break it up. Repeat scraping process every 30 minutes until mixture is just solid, 3 to 4 hours.
  2. NO-STIR METHOD Transfer syrup to a nonreactive container large enough for mixture to come 3/4 inch up the side. Cool to room temperature and then freeze solid. Remove from freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Invert pan onto cutting surface. Remove pan and cut frozen mixture into small pieces with a metal pastry scraper or large knife. Chop small pieces into tiny granules. Can return granita to freezer for up to 2 hours before serving.
  1. Cut the zest of a large lemon into fine julienne strips. Cover with water and boil for 5 minutes; drain. Bring 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup and 1/3 cup water to boil. Remove from heat, stir in zest, and let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer zest to wire rack. After 15 minutes, when zest feels dry, roll it in additional sugar. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  1. Scoop granita into chilled serving glasses garnish with candied lemon zest and serve immediately.

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