Makes 8 servings
This refreshing icy treat will melt on your tongue like snow. Serve it as a palate-pleasing intermezzo between dinner courses or as a light dessert. Be sure to scrub the oranges well before zesting. And, it's a nice touch to chill the serving glasses in advance.
1 cup Gewürztraminer or other medium-bodied, sweet and fruity white wine
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 large sprigs of fresh mint + 8 small sprigs for garnish
Combine the wine, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat; stir in the orange zest and the orange and lemon juices.
Pour the mixture into a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish; immerse the 2 large mint sprigs in the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Remove the mint sprigs.
Cover the dish and place in the freezer for an hour or two until the mixture has frozen around the edges. Remove the container from the freezer and scrape the mixture with a fork, moving it from the edge into the center. Repeat this 3 or 4 times, about once per hour, until the mixture is completely frozen and the ice crystals are fluffy.
Transfer to a covered freezer container and freeze for an hour longer to dry the crystals. It's best to serve the granita within a few days, but the mixture will keep for up to 1 month.
To serve, scrape again with a fork and spoon the granita into stemmed glasses; garnish with the remaining 8 small mint sprigs. It melts quickly, so serve immediately.
If you don't have time to scrape the mixture with a fork, let it freeze completely in the pan. Just before serving, remove the pan from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes. Break the mixture into chunks and purée in a blender. The result will be less flaky and smoother like a sorbet.