Bring a frosty wintery feel to your next special dinner party menu and serve Pomegranate Granita with Sugar Frosted Mint Leaves in chilled shot glasses. This intensely flavored fruit granita can be served as a refreshing palate cleanser between courses or, as a light and cooling dessert after a heavy main course. The good thing is… you can make everything in advance and it’s all super-easy to do.
No special equipment is required to churn the granita and to make the characteristic granular look, simply rake the frozen fruit juice with the tines of a fork. The natural sweetness from the pomegranate juice and sugar gives this granita a lovely soft slushy texture.
Removing the pomegranate seeds is a bit of a pain but over at TheKitchen they show you how to seed a pomegranate, this is my favorite way of getting the job done. Do use the freshest juice possible and if you have a juicing machine then great, or you could juice the pomegranates with a manually juicer. Maybe you have a juice bar near by that makes fresh pomegranate juice.
Depending on whether you are serving this pomegranate granita as a palate cleanser or as a dessert, sweeten accordingly, leaving the latter more on the tart side. Pomegranate pairs well with warming spices and adding home ground or blended mixed spices made from cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger give the granita a deliciously warm and festive feel.
The sugar frosted mint leaves are completely optional and add a touch of frost with the sugar coating and sprinkle of edible glitter and they taste lovely and minty taste too. If you’re concerned about using raw egg whites, use reconstituted powdered egg whites or pasteurized egg whites. You can make these sugar frosted mint leave at least four days in advance, so make extra and use to decorate other desserts and cupcakes with.
Once removed from the freezer granita melts quickly, so best to pre-fill the serving glasses or dessert dishes while still in the freezer, ahead of serving time. Then all you need do is… place a sugar frosted mint leaf and a few pomegranate seed on top and serve the granita straight from the freezer to your waiting guests. Don’t you love when you can plan ahead!
Pomegranate Granita with Sugar Frosted Mint Leaves
(makes 10 small serves or 4 large serves)
For the 250ml of fresh pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
a three finger pinch of mixed spice
1 to 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, or to taste
For frosted mint leaves:
fresh mint leaves, wash and pat dry with paper towels
1 egg while, lightly beaten
caster sugar, in a dredger
edible glitter, optional
to decorate, pomegranate seeds and frosted mint leaves (optional)
How to make the granita: Pour the pomegranate juice into a shallow (rectangular) freezer-safe container, making sure the liquid is no more than 1-inch deep. Add the lemon juice, mixed spice, caster sugar and stir gently until sugar has dissolved. Cover and leave in the fridge for about an hour for the flavors to infuse and develop. Place the container in the freezer for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly frozen, stir with a fork. Leave until completely frozen.
Do this step on the morning of your dinner party: Working quickly, use the tines of a fork to scrape along the top of the frozen granita, continue until you reach the bottom of the container. This creates the grainy look of a granita. Cover the container and immediately place back in the freezer for another hour to firm up. Afterwards spoon the granita into pre chilled glasses or dishes and keep in the freezer until ready to serve. Just before serving garnish with a few pomegranate seeds and a sugar frosted mint leaf.
How to make sugar frosted mint leaves: Using a small painting brush (kept for food purposes) or a small pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of mint leaf with egg white. Holding the tip of the mint leaf and using a sugar dredger, sprinkle sugar over to completely cover both sides of the mint leaf. Do this step holding the mint leaf over a bowl, to catch the falling sugar. Place the sugar-coated leaf on a wire rack and dust over some edible glitter, if using. Leave the mint leaves to dry for about three hours or until both side of the mint leaf feel dry.
Store sugared frosted mint leaves between sheets of wax or greaseproof paper in an airtight container for up to four to five days.