Make Herb-Infused Granitas: Peach and Lemon Verbena Granita

| June/July 1999

  • Tarragon and blood oranges, lemon verbena and peaches, and mint and grapefruit combine in these dare-to-be-different granitas.

Lemon verbena brings out the superb flavor of peaches that have been ripened to perfection. Makes 2 cups.

• 1 pound sweetest fresh ripe peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into medium dice
• 1/2 cup superfine sugar or more to taste
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves
• 1 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
• Lemon verbena sprigs for garnish

1. In a small saucepan, bring peaches, sugar, and water to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the peaches are tender and the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Off heat, drain peaches, reserving the poaching liquid, and puree them in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste; sweeten with some reserved poaching liquid if desired.

3. Add chopped lemon verbena and let stand for 15 minutes, then strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and taste; add enough to make a sweet-tart mixture.

4. Freeze mixture in ice cube trays until solid. In a blender or food processor, pulse 6 frozen granita cubes until mixture forms coarse crystals. Continue adding frozen granita cubes until processed. Serve immediately in chilled martini glasses or dessert dishes garnished with verbena sprigs.

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