Celery Granita

Image: Califia Farms - Celery Granita recipe

Food52 Best Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Finalist

by mrslarkin

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

  1. 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.
  2. This makes a bit more than what's needed in the recipe. Store syrup in the fridge.

Celery Granita:
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
pinches salt
Aceto balsamico di Modena (the good stuff) to drizzle (optional)

  1. On a parchment-lined sheet pan, arrange sliced celery in a single layer. Place in freezer until solid.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.