Monday, November 30, 2009

Cranberry Orange Granita

(pictured: granita in an espresso cup with a demitasse spoon)

This granita is something I make all fall and winter long. It is the reason I buy at least 10 pounds of fresh cranberries each year for the freezer. I adore this dessert/palate cleanser. The fresh tart flavor is one of my favorites. We always have this with our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

If you like the flavor of cranberries I really think you will like this granita. It is easy to make sweeter by adding more agave. The red wine helps the mixture to achieve the correct consistency. If you prefer you can substitute white wine or a couple of tablespoons of vodka in lieu of red wine. If you use red wine be certain you love the flavor of the wine, as you will be able to taste it in this granita. Here is what I did.

Cranberry Orange Granita
Makes 8 servings of approximately 4 ounces each


1 cup whole cranberries
2 cups cranberry juice, unsweetened (used "Just Cranberry" by RW Knudsen)
1 orange, zested and juice (buy organic since you are using the zest)
¼ cup red wine (used Amarone)
½ cup agave, or to taste


Place the whole cranberries (frozen are fine) in your food processor and pulse to break them into small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse to combine. Taste for sweetness. I used ½ cup of agave but you may need more. We try to stay away from sugar and now find that we don’t need much to make foods taste sweet. In the past we would have needed much more sweetener.

Pour the cranberry orange mixture into a shallow container with a lid. I used an 8 by 8 glass Pyrex that has a lid. Place in the freezer and set a timer for one hour.

Pull the mixture from the freezer, uncover it and use a fork to break up any portion that is starting to solidify. Recover the pan, return it to the freezer and reset your timer for an hour. Continue the process of scraping and returning the pan to the freezer until the mixture is completely frozen. The final texture should be similar to Italian ice. The ice crystals should be small. This is why you continue to scrape and fork the mixture as it freezes.

The exact time this takes will depend on how cold your freezer is. Mine is always finished in 5 hours or less, but I use my large stand-alone freezer that is colder than a standard refrigerator freezer. I would suggest you make it the day before you want to serve it.

The completely frozen and scraped granita will last for months in the freezer.

I prefer to have mini servings of this after a heavy meal as I have picture above. It seems to make me feel better as though I am digesting my dinner better, but this could be my imagination.

Nutritional Information (assumes 8 servings):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 61.77
Calories From Fat (2%) - 1.31

Total Fat - 0.16g
Saturated Fat - 0.01g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 4.91mg
Potassium - 120.03mg
Total Carbohydrates - 14.36g
Fiber - 2.21g
Sugar - 9.7g
Protein - 0.5g


You get a fairly sizable portion for 60 calories. I only eat an espresso cup of this at a time and find it to be enough to satisfy my frozen sweet cravings. If you want to change the flavor you can add finely minced candied ginger, cinnamon powder, or fresh mint that you finely minced.

Each serving of this granita contains 97 grams of calcium but not much more in terms of nutrition. I eat this mostly because I like the texture and the flavor.

We have this for dessert or we serve it as a palate cleanser between courses when I make a multi course meal. This is always popular with my friends and family. The recipe I have given is what I make for my husband and I. When I am serving this to others I double the amount of sweetener.

Unrelated Note:

This morning started was a flurry of activity as I tried to get everything ready for my hubby to leave earlier than usual. Mondays aren’t my best day, and having to get started earlier than normal didn’t help. I made us a quick smoothie, packed his lunch and got out of the way while he buzzed around before leaving.

Next the felines, who think they are still kittens, decided to help me decorate for Christmas. They have a particular fondness for the ribbon I used as garland to drape on my tree. As I write this I have one cute little white boy sound asleep in the cat bed I snuggled under the tree. They are so angelic when they are sleeping. While I have an opportunity I am going to get back to decorating.

I will be back later with another recipe from Thanksgiving and tonight’s dinner (whatever that turns out to be). I really should try to plan our meals. That would make my life a little easier. I hope you are all having a great day!


  1. Oh wow--that sounds fabulous. And hahaha--we are similar in our stockpiling of cranberries! I have a freezer full as well, and I am excited to use them in various recipes all year long :-)


  2. Courtney,

    I am so happy to hear I am not the only one that is cranberry obsessed. I just love those tart little berries.


  3. This looks really good; I love the color.

  4. Rose,

    I think you will really like this one. It is tart and a little sweet, really a perfect palate cleanser, although I like it as a dessert.



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