Monday, June 02, 2008

Refreshing and sweet: plum wine granita

It was a funny weather weekend here – alternately sunny, warm and beautiful and rainy, cold and foggy. We were back at the beach and rolled with the punches, getting caught in a torrential downpour on Saturday night that caused us to run home, camera tucked under my sweater. It was nice to be away despite having to hole up inside on occasion. We took the opportunity to visit a local winery and indulge in a tasting. Rosé is apparently in vogue right now – and I will admit to being a bit wooed by the lovely pink color, and the girly-ness of it all. The combination of summer, wine, and pink inspired me to concoct a granita recipe loosely modeled after a little after dinner treat served at our local Japanese restaurant: plum wine granita.

The first time I had it I was amazed at how flavorful and refreshing it was. I asked for the recipe but apparently it’s a well-guarded secret, so I set off to tinker with the likely ingredients and came up with a version that is highly pleasing. It’s the perfect cooling summer treat: light, refreshing, and mildly alcoholic! As with any granita, you don’t need any special equipment – just a fork and a freezer-safe container – ideally one with a wide surface area for even freezing, like an 8 x 12 Pyrex with 2 or 3 inch sides.

Granitas with a high an alcohol content like this take a while to freeze and don’t stay frozen long so it’s best to plan a day ahead, stick your glasses in the freezer to chill for a while, fill them with the finished granita and then serve them directly from the freezer. The granita itself may take a half a day or longer to completely freeze, but the good news is you only have to check in on it every couple of hours while its doing so.

Plum wine granita (serves 4-6)

2 cups Japanese plum wine*
2.5 cups water
½ cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
1.5 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
4 Tbs crème de cassis (adds another flavor note and color – can be omitted).

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat. Combine with plum wine, cassis and lime juice. Taste and add additional sugar or lime juice if you like. Pour into a freezer-safe container (8x12 with 2 to 3 inch sides works well). Begin checking after two hours. As ice crystals form, use a fork to break them into smaller crystals taking care to scrape along the sides where the crystals will first form. Check and repeat every 1.5 - 2 hours until frozen.

*Note: Plum is ume in Japanese. I used this one. In general, look for a wine you'd be happy to drink but it need not be of the highest quality. The color of plum wine varies: Kikkoman, for example, produces an amber-colored plum wine that will result in a darker colored granita.


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

What a delicious take on granita! I love the fact that you used something different in making this. Looks perfectly "icy".

Anonymous said...

Japanese plum wine (choya) is my fav Japanese wine. Very creative ^^

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i love granitas in the summer... your photo is so light and ethereal, both photos. gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Sounds refreshingly delicious on a warm summer evening. Beautiful photo!!

Anonymous said...

It looks perfectly delightful and the precious little glass and spoon are a lovely touch.

Anonymous said...

Such a great dish -- i tried "a little" of this and it was soooo refreshing -- cools you down when it's really hot out.

Anonymous said...

Must really be summer--seems your blog is having a run on chilly sweet treats!

La Tartine Gourmande said...

Looks very refreshing! Makes me want to get to the beach too!

Anonymous said...

I've had Plum Wine before. I didn't much care for it.

Wish I'd thought of making Granita from it.

Your photography is beautiful as always - The bulbous glass is great.

Anonymous said...

i've never had plum wine before, but i would love to try this! the texture of the grantia looks lovely.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love the icy look of your granita and the icy look of your spoon. Very nice pictures!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I don't think I've ever tried a plum wine before, but that alone sounds intriguing...let alone in granita form! This looks yummy

Anonymous said...

Interesting use of plum wine. Thanks for the recipe!

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