It all started with a Clementine and Star Anise Sorbet spotted in Ice Cream! Clementine has a delicate and sweet flavour which lend itself well to sorbets.
Star Anise is an ancient spice grown only in Southern China and North Vietnam. This spice traded so intensively in Europe during the 15th century that it gave its name to the trade route from China to Alexandria.
Despite the largest spices collection of herbs and spices I've ever seen in a kitchen, Pebble Soup HQ doesn't have star anise. Therefore when it came to make the doomed sorbet, I improvised and turned to his birthday present a bottle of Pastis Henri Baudoin, a "Grand Cru" Pastis . Star anise has been used in alcoholic drinks since records began indeed records mention star anise used for sacred rites dating to 1500BC and it makes for the base of this aperitif.
So far, the day was saved. It was counting without some sort of devilish intervention which turned the sorbet into a granita.
Fruit Granitas are chunkier and coarser in texture than sorbets. They are made by chopping or scrapping the mixture with a stainless stell pastry scaraper or two knives.
One important thing to remember is when making ice-cream, sorbet and the like with an inclusion of alcohol, you have to be careful not to add too much as alcohol lowers the point of freezing and could prevent setting.
In this case, in an attempt to reduce the sugar the sorbet did set hard instead of nice and soft. Faced with a solid block of ice, I refrained from burning down the kitchen out of rage and started scraping, stored the scrapes in the freezer and bingo add a delicious granita.
Granita needs to be removed from the freezer 20 minutes before serving and doesn't keep much more than a couple of weeks.
Since Kitchen Miracles don't happen every day, I thought it a good idea to enter this recipe in Scream for Ice-Cream, a event which I like because its round-ups are a rich source of inspiration. June challenge is all about fruit.
Now for the recipe: Clementine Granita with Pastis à l'Ancienne
500ml of fresh clementine juice
250ml of water
80g of caster sugar
2 tsp of pastis or 1 whole star anise
1 vanilla pod
Pinch of salt
Combine water, sugar and spice or pastis in a saucepan and bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat, discart the star, split the vanilla pod lenghtwise and add the seeds to the pan with the clementine juice and a pinch of salt.
Transfer the mixture to a freezer container and freeze uncoververd for 1-2 hours until crystals start to form.
Remove the granita from the freezer and using a forkg, vigourously break up all the ice crystals. Return to the frezzer and repeat the process, breaking up the ice crystals every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Return to the freezer to become firm.
Remove the granita 20 minutes before serving do not store for more than 2 weeks