A lovely, simple recipe that is influenced by our Sicilian friends who have a history of frozen desserts. The granita is a handy thing to have on hand in your freezer – add a few large spoonfuls to a glass of prosecco for a refreshing spring drink.
- 500 g sugar
- 500 ml water
- 1 litre blood orange juice
- 1 squeeze of lemon
- 1 litre blood orange juice
- 200 g caster sugar
- 800 ml milk
- 1 blood orange, zest peeled
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 6 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 blood oranges, cut into segments
- 1 splash of Campari (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Freezing time overnight
To make the granita, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring to mix together. Place on high heat, bring to the boil, remove from heat and leave to cool.
Once cooled, combine the sugar syrup, blood orange juice and lemon juice. Place this mixture in a metal tray and place in the freezer overnight.
To make the custard, preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the blood orange juice and 50 g of the sugar in a small saucepan and, over a gentle heat, simmer and reduce to about 300 ml. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
In another saucepan, place the milk with 100 g of the remaining sugar, the blood orange zest, salt, and vanilla bean and seeds. Warm slowly.
While the milk is warming, whisk the eggs, yolks and remaining 50 g of sugar in a bowl until combined. To this mixture, add the cooled reduced blood orange juice.
Once the milk reaches a simmer, slowly strain it into the egg mixture, whisking continually. This step is easier to do if you have a friend to help you. One person alone doesn’t have enough hands.
Boil some water. Pour your custard into a baking dish. Place this dish into a larger baking dish and fill with boiling water to come halfway up the side of the smaller dish, forming a water bath. Very carefully and gently, place your precarious stake of dishes into the oven.
Cook for 20 minutes and then give the custard dish a little jiggle. It should still be slightly wobbly in the middle but holding together. If it still looks too liquidy, cook for a bit longer.
Custard can be a temperamental thing and really does depend on your oven. Don’t be scared, just wary and willing to check often. Once cooked, carefully pull the custard out of the oven and leave to cool in the water bath.
While you are waiting for it to cool, get your tray of granita out of the freezer and start to scrape along the top of it with a fork. You should get a nice soft icy mass. Continue doing this until you think you have enough. The granita can go back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.
Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, pull the dish out of the water bath and prepare to serve.
Place a large spoonful of custard in each serving bowl, add some of your fresh orange segments and top with some granita. Add a little splash of Campari to each bowl, if you so desire.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd.