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BackstoryWhen strawberries are in season, you're overwhelmed with them, and you've got to find something new to do with them. This is a ridiculously easy dessert, with a bright but decadent flavor.
- 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vodka, kirsch, or limoncello
- Place sliced strawberries, sugar and salt into the workbowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. Add water and lemon juice and process again until just combined.
- Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the strained liquid into an 8"x8"x2" baking pan, add the liquor (if using), and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Place in the freezer.
- Scrape the surface of the granita every 45 minutes to 1 hour (after the first hour the mixture will likely still be very syrupy). After five hours, the granita will be set and fluffy.
- What's with the liquor? Well, plain water will freeze solid. Sugar helps to create a more syrupy, malleable solution. The strawberries already have sugar in them, and we've added a lot more. However, depending on how cold your freezer is and how much sugar you put in, you may find the syrup's a bit too thick. Since more sugar would make it intolerably sweet, a small amount of alcohol also has the same effect of preventing the mixture from freezing solid too quickly. Plus, it's another way to add flavor. Certain flavors also are more pronounced, even at very cold temperatures, when in the presence of alcohol - even though you can't taste the alcohol. However, if you abstain or just don't feel comfortable putting even a small amount of booze into something your kids might eat, leave it out. It'll be perfectly good on its own.
- Most food processors aren't designed to process large volumes of mostly liquid, so use care when transferring or you'll find syrup pouring out the bottom of the processor. Alternatively, you could use a blender, which is designed for this type of pureeing, but you'll have to work in batches. Definitely remember to strain the syrup before it goes into the freezer - there's going to be a lot of pulp and seeds, and you don't want that in your dessert.
- Oh, and in case you've forgotten... strawberries stain EVERYTHING, so make sure you clean up promptly, and it's probably a good idea not to wear white when you make this