I'm a complete urbanite. I love living downtown and I love being in the heart of the city. That said, in the summer, there's nothing I enjoy more than retreating from the city and spending the weekend in the country. Like the good Canadian that I am, I can't resist a few days in nature, close to a body of water, surrounded by trees and wildlife. Luckily, I'm able to spend lots of time at my boyfriend's family home on Upper Rideau Lake, near Westport, when I need a little getaway from city life.
This weekend, en route to the Lake, I picked up a pint of strawberries at a roadside stand in Smith Falls with hopes of making one of my favourite cold summer desserts. As you may have seen in my last blog post, I shared a recipe featuring Ontario strawberries. Because they are so plentiful these days, I've decided to feature them yet again. Yes, strawberries are delicious, but they also offer an array of health benefits. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants. They are also anti-inflammatory and may help regulate blood sugar.
Below, you'll find the recipe for my strawberry basil granita. It's sweet (but not too sweet), refreshing, and the perfect way to use up your extra strawberries and basil, both of which are incredibly bountiful this time of year. This popular Italian dessert is normally sweetened with sugar, but I swapped in a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to reduce the sweetness and to give it a Canadian touch. It's a great dairy free alternative to ice cream, plus it's really easy to make and will impress even the pickiest eater!
STRAWBERRY BASIL GRANITA
Makes approximately 4 servings.
1 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
1/4 cup, fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons, maple syrup
Place strawberries in a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Add the basil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Pulse until evenly mixed.
Transfer the mixture to an 8x8 baking dishes and freeze until it becomes icy around the edges, about 30 minutes. Use a fork to scrape the icy portion into the middle of the pan.
Freeze for 1 ½ to 2 hours more, scraping the frozen edges towards the centre every 30 minutes, until the mixture is no longer liquid and has the consistency of flaky crystals.
Serve immediately in bowls or parfait glasses. The granita can keep for a few days in the freezer and will stay scoopable if frozen. You may have to defrost it for a bit, before serving, if it's been in the fridge for several hours.