Refreshing pear and lemon granita
This is actually developed from a recipe to poach pears – see Poire belle Hélène - I discovered that the poaching syrup makes a beautifully refreshing granita. It has quite a few steps, but you get poached pears to use separately as well. Just start making it at least 24 hours ahead, as the granita needs time to freeze each time you rake it.
- Find a saucepan just big enough to comfortably fit the 4 pears.
- Place the 800ml of water and the 400g granulated sugar in the saucepan. Put on stove on a medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. This is now a light sugar syrup.
- Meanwhile, zest half the lemon and add it to the saucepan along with the juice of half the lemon.
- Fill another bowl with water and add the juice from the other half of the lemon to make acidulated water. This will stop the peeled pears going brown before you start poaching them.
- Prepare each pear – one at a time. First peel the pear, leaving the stalk still attached. Cut a little off across the base so that it will stand upright. Then use a melon baller tool (or small sharp knife) to carefully remove the main part of the core and pips through the base.
- Once each pear is ready immediately place in the acidulated water, to stop it going brown. Then do the next one.
- When all the pears are ready and the pan of light sugar syrup is at a gentle simmer, place the pears in. Balance a small heatproof dish/bowl on top of the pears to keep them submerged.
- Simmer gently for about 30-40 minutes, until the pears are cooked through (use a skewer to test). When ready, remove the pears and allow to cool. Unless you are using them within an hour, store in a covered container in the fridge until needed.
- Once cool place the syrup in a wide based plastic container, with a proper lid (you should have about 1 litre), and place in the freezer for about 4 hours.
- Remove container from freezer, and use a fork to rake right through the layers of forming ice - starting from each edge and working in. Make sure you rake through all of it. Return to freezer for another 3-4 hours. Repeat this raking process a few times over the next day or so, until the entirety of the container consists of opaque, almost fluffy, ice crystals.
- Serve in smart glasses – I often use martini glasses that have been in the fridge for at least an hour first so they are nice and cold.
- Sprinkle each glass of granita with 20g of frozen blueberries (partially defrosted) and serve immediately before the granita melts.
- You can use the poached pears for the classic French dessert - Poire belle Hélène or cut the poached pears up and add to greek yoghurt and granola for a yummy breakfast.
- Small portions of this granita would make a good palate cleanser between courses at a dinner party - try serving it in shot glasses.