Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Celebration With Friends and Grapefruit Granita

Yesterday was Inauguration Day and was the first time I actually cared enough to watch the event. It was heartening to watch as the first person of color was voted into the highest office in our land. It is really a testament to how far we have come as a nation and where we want to go. I am extremely proud to be an American today.

What better way to mark the occasion than to spend the evening with people we care about, eating pizza and drinking beer? Louis has just about perfected his pizza making skills. A couple of years ago he became quite obsessed with pizza dough, making several variations and using different types of dough. He used recipes and techniques from Peter Reinhart's "American Pie". We have two favorite types. The Napoletana is made with all purpose flour and results in a thin, crisp crust. It almost feels like eating pastry. This style of pizza is perfect for a plain margarita. It is too thin to hold much in the way of toppings. This is probably the only instance that I would ever advise using regular mozzarella instead of fresh. The fresh mozzarella is too wet and makes for a soggy crust.

The other style of dough is called Neo-Napoletana, and is made with bread flour. It has more structure and despite being thin, it can take more toppings. We made several different pizzas. One was roasted peppers with calamari and aioli.

And another was broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic, olives and chili flakes with homemade ricotta.

As the title suggests, we ended the meal with a grapefruit granita served with chocolate shortbread with cocoa nibs and sea salt. It was lovely. Keri proclaimed it to be the best dessert that I've ever made! Vic couldn't quite agree. But I think we all agreed that it was a perfect way to end a meal of pizza and beer. It was refreshingly icy, slightly sweet, slightly bitter and it was all smoothed out by the cream. It will absolutely find it's way onto another menu.

Grapefruit Granita
4 cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice with pulp
about 1 cup of simple syrup (more or less to taste)(see recipe below)
a pinch of kosher salt

Mix everything together and pour into a wide shallow baking dish (I used a 9x5 inch Pyrex dish). Place the dish in the freezer and check it every 30-60 minutes. Remove it from the freezer and use a fork to scrape the frozen edges. After 2-3 hours you should end up with a mixture that is quite fluffy. Keep the mixture in the dish and re-fluff with a fork before serving. Serve with some slightly sweetened softly whipped cream.

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Place water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. This can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I've had some extraordinary desserts at your house. To call something "the best ever" is not a label to be thrown around lightly. It requires some exacting scientific data analysis.