At the end of a Sunday lunch, our yiayia always made sure we finished on a sweet note. After clearing the plates from the pristine painted white table on the screened porch, Yi would walk up the brick stairs into the kitchen, as we waited in anticipation. Using whatever she had on hand, Yi always emerged from the kitchen with a sweet treat for the twins. Served in simple white china bowls, Yi often featured subtly sweet sliced cantaloupe. Whether topped with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream or a slice of yellow pound cake with sprinkled pecans, Yi always transformed something so simple into the tasty highlight of the meal.
At first, we admittedly were not the biggest fans of the orange melon. Watermelon always reigned supreme. We soon acquired the taste (or maybe it was Yi’s special presentation), and now we often seek its unique flavor and aroma in warm weather months.
Our reinterpretation of Yi’s cantaloupe and ice cream delight is Cantaloupe Granita. The frozen blend of melon, sugar and lime has an incredibly refreshing, subtly sweet taste with the perfect punch of citrus. Served in a simple or ornate bowl, the icy treat is a terrific impromptu dessert for guests and is sure to cool you down in any heatwave.
1 cantaloupe, cut in large chunks
1/2 c water
1/4 c granulated sugar (add more if you have a big sweet tooth, our version is pretty mild)
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside and cool. In a blender, combine all ingredient and blend until fully pureed. Pour into a 9x9 pan and place in the freezer. After an hour, fork through the semi-frozen mixture and return the dish to the freezer for an additional hour. Fork again and spoon into bowls. Serves 6.
Since we love to further enhance a dish with the addition of spirits, we recently added a floater of Champagne on top of the granita and were delighted with our instantly sophisticated slushie. We can’t wait to experiment with other boozy libations and fruits this summer!