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Carrot Cake Granita

Yesterday was ridiculously hot & humid here outside of Boston – you know, the kind of heavy heat that causes your legs to stick to the leather sofa and your blowout to frizz uncontrollably – and I was craving something cold and sweet something fierce.

Ok, so I probably shouldn’t have chosen a 90° evening to photograph this granita… by the time I actually got around to eating a serving, it was more akin to a half-melted slushy. But when a craving strikes, I oblige.

I suggest serving the granita immediately before it literally starts to melt before your eyes.

It struck me as I was photographing the granita that the shards of ice crystals kinda sorta look like grated carrots. Do you see the resemblance?

Indulge me and say yes ;).

This marks my first time making granita, and I’m proud to declare it a resounding success!

It couldn’t be easier, really. All you do is dissolve brown sugar, a few carrot cake-inspired spices, and a bit of maple syrup in a mixture of 100% carrot and pineapple juices, place the mixture in the freezer, scrape the ice to form crystals a few times, and voila! An icy, refreshing, and delicious summertime dessert.

I loved the bright orange hue of the granita, but it looked a little, well… naked.

I realized – right before digging into a frosty glass of the granita – that I had almost overlooked an essential component to carrot cake: the cream cheese frosting.

How dare I? The frosting used to be the only part of the cake that I ate. Nowadays, I’ll gladly tuck into a thick slice of carrot cake with a thin layer of frosting… but the sweet and creamy accompaniment has gotta be there.

One problem. I didn’t have any cream cheese; and even if I did, it seemed like a rather heavy accompaniment to such a light dessert.

Then I spotted the jar of coconut butter. In the heat, the coconut oil had separated from the solids, but it wasn’t anything a quick stir couldn’t fix.

I like the flavor enhancement of coconut in a carrot cake, so I drizzled some of the (well-stirred) coconut butter over the top…

… which resulted in a magic shell-like hard frosted topping.

Uh-huh. Yep. That was a goooood call.

I think you should try it too!

Carrot Cake Granita

Printer-Friendly Recipe

yield: 4 servings

inspired by Apple Pie Granita, as seen on Joy the Baker from Emeril

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups 100% carrot juice
  • 3/4 cup 100% pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • well-stirred coconut butter for drizzling on top, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the coconut butter, in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Mixture should not come to a boil, or even to a simmer.
  2. Pour mixture into a baking dish (I used an 11 x 7 inch dish). Let cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes, and then place dish in the freezer until ice crystals form around the edges, about 1 hour.
  3. Using a fork, scrape the ice crystals on the edges towards the center of the dish. Place dish back in the freezer, and freeze an additional 1 hour.
  4. Repeat step 3 until ice crystals have developed throughout the mixture (about 4 hours total freezing time).
  5. Spoon granita into glasses or serving dishes, drizzle with coconut butter (if using), and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (without the coconut butter):

152.7 calories, 0 grams fat, 44.7 grams total carbohydrate, 1.2 grams fiber, 39.2 grams sugars, 1.3 grams protein

*Edited to add a few photos!

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