Food52 Best Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Finalist
Food52 Editors' Comments: While I was hesitant to buy an expensive bottle of liqueur to test this recipe, my curiosity won. (I also found there's a secondary market for the bottle on eBay—#winning!) I loved Dr. Brown's Celray soda as a kid, and this captures that exceptional celery quality in a very sophisticated way. I found the distinct celery coolness with notes of elderflower surprisingly refreshing—and the balsamic added a "just sweet enough" edge.
This won’t be anything near the smoothness of a sorbet or a gelato, unless you have a Vitamix. So I’m calling it a granita, which it probably isn’t either, because it’s got that chunkiness thing going on, which is really a good thing, because that’s where all the good-for-you dietary fiber is, right? Mark Bittman ran a celery story a while ago. Pretty cool stuff. My recipe is adapted from his.
Serves 3 or more
Celery Simple Syrup:
1 green celery rib, sliced
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Let cool. Strain syrup and discard solids. Set aside.
- This makes a bit more than what's needed in the recipe. Store syrup in the fridge.
4 ribs of green celery, sliced 1/4-inch thin (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup celery simple syrup
Juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon St. Germain liqueur
Aceto balsamico di Modena (the good stuff) to drizzle (optional)
- On a parchment-lined sheet pan, arrange sliced celery in a single layer. Place in freezer until solid.
- In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree. If you've got a Vitamix, you're a lucky dog. If not, it might take several minutes to puree the frozen celery. Just keep plugging along until you like the consistency. And taste for salt.
- Spread the mixture into a shallow freezer-safe vessel, like a square Pyrex dish. Freeze, and about every half hour or so, remove from freezer and rake the top with a fork. Twice should be enough. Spoon into serving glasses, wine glasses, or small clear bowls. The color of the granita is beautiful! Drizzle with the balsamico, if desired.