This basil granita uses frozen, store bought basil cubes, so it’s a breeze to prepare. When freezing granita, the liquid shouldn’t be more than an inch deep. For this recipe a 9- x 13-inch pan works well. The basil granita is delicious enough on its own, but you can also serve it with other flavored granitas if you’d like to replicate the look of this photograph. If you are serving the basil granita on its own, you can serve it in martini glasses and garnish with basil leaves. For the other granitas in this photograph, I used store-bought beverages for ease of preparation. Choose the ones you like; all you have to do is heat them with sugar, and add citrus juice and a zest of your choice. I paired grape juice with lime juice and zest; mango juice with orange juice and zest; and strawberry juice with grapefruit juice and zest. When heating the beverages, adjust the sugar according to your taste.
1. Combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Add the basil cubes and stir the mixture until they are dissolved.
2. Pour the mixture into a large pan and place in the freezer. After 30 minutes, take the mixture out of the freezer and, using a fork, scrape the granita in to flakes. Freeze. Repeat every 30 minutes until there is no more liquid and all you have are fluffy fine crystals.
To make the zest curls: peel zest from oranges, grapefruits, limes, and lemons with a potato peeler. Cut into thin rectangular strips, trimming all sides, top and bottom. Wrap zest strips tightly around a pencil and freeze overnight until firmly frozen. Use as a garnish for granita.