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Zuni granita turned out dry and flavorless..what went wrong?

  • c
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I made Zuni's watermelon granita tonight and it was underwhelming, to say the least. It must have been something that I did wrong because I had their blood orange granita at the restaurant in June and it was magnificent.

It was my first time making a granita and things looked promising until the very end. The watermelon puree was strained and adjusted for salt and sugar. It tasted great for the first couple hours (during the first two chopping phases). By the time service came, however, it was hard as a rock and tasted like barely flavored ice.

Should I have let it melt a bit before serving? Should I have served it sooner (I let it sit in the freezer for 3 or 4 hours before serving)? Should I have left the solids in the liquid??

That blood orange granita was one of the best desserts I've ever had and would love to recreate the results. Any advice from granita fans or veterans would be greatly appreciated!!

TIA!!

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  1. I haven't made granita in a long time and never from the Zuni book, but quoting Ms. Rodgers, "where the juice and puree was thin, and you didn't add much sugar, the granita may be dryish." She then instructs to leave it out of the freezer for 5-10 min. before serving. You may even need a little longer.

    Granitas and sorbets need ALOT of sugar for texture and flavor. The sugar is essentially the stabilizer (I think that's the correct term) and if your watermelon wasn't that sweet, then you should have added a fair amount to compensate. Chilling always zaps some of the flavor (eg, think about the difference btwn. a cold vs. room temp. strawberry), so it needs to taste too sweet before it goes into the freezer. I have been getting crappy watermelons lately, so if yours wasn't good to begin with, the granita won't be that good. I imagine your granita at Zuni was made w/ stellar fruit.

    I have a bunch of peaches from my in-laws' tree so I'm going to start some sorbet before going to bed tonight...

    1. I've never made grantia, but I'd take any advice Carb Lover has to offer--it appears she really knows her ice creams,granita's, sorbets,etc. I have made some other Zuni vegie recipes and have been really underwelmed each time, lots of work and not much flavor. Maybe it was just me, but perhaps the(yours and mine) recipe wasn't spot on either.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jackie

        Thanks for your vote of confidence, jackie. In fact, I have some peach gelato awaiting in my freezer...I was also thinking that w/ granita the juice may have collected at the bottom, leaving mostly ice on top, so it's important to thaw a bit, refluff, and redistribute the juice.

        As an aside, what veggie recipes from Zuni haven't worked so well for you? I haven't tried much in that arena and would love to have any foresight that you can offer. Thanks.

        1. re: Carb Lover

          Your welcome and I'll be looking forward to hearing how your peach gelato came out. It's getting to be peach seaon here in the midwest and I think this year we will going to Michigan to get a bushel-----so your gelato will be a welcome recipe.
          I've made a zucchini dish and also a tomatoe, potatoe and zucchini dish from a Zuni recipe. As I said, both were quite a bit of work, which I truly don't mind and in most cases love, but neither of these were worth the work. I used all fresh produce from my garden,picked just hours before using, except for the potatoes which I got from a local farm stand so it wasn't the quality of the produce. Maybe it's just my taste, but unless someone whose opionion I really trust recs it, I wouldn't use another zuni recipe----sorry Zuni!

          1. re: Carb Lover

            Your welcome and I'll be looking forward to hearing how your peach gelato came out. It's getting to be peach seaon here in the midwest and I think this year we will going to Michigan to get a bushel-----so your gelato will be a welcome recipe.
            I've made a zucchini dish and also a tomatoe, potatoe and zucchini dish from a Zuni recipe. As I said, both were quite a bit of work, which I truly don't mind and in most cases love, but neither of these were worth the work. I used all fresh produce from my garden,picked just hours before using, except for the potatoes which I got from a local farm stand so it wasn't the quality of the produce. Maybe it's just my taste, but unless someone whose opionion I really trust recs it, I wouldn't use another zuni recipe----sorry Zuni