Most of the desserts I make have fresh fruit at center stage. Sometimes fruit needs to float in something creamy. During one of my kitchen experiments I discovered the fun of making homemade almond milk. Then I turned it into granita. This recipe has since become a part of my summer collection. Although I am inclined to narrate a romantic story about lovely Italy before writing the more official bit of this post, I am keeping things as simple as can be.
- 150 grams cup of raw almonds . skins on
- 300 ml cups boiled and cooled water to soak
- 300 ml cups boiled and cooled water to make the almond milk.
- one teaspoon of vanilla extract or a piece of a vanilla bean
- one cinnamon stick
- a pinch of sea salt crystals
- one tablespoon of raw local honey
- one organic lemon
Boil the water and allow it to cool, or use filtered spring water. Pour the water, cinnamon, seas salt and vanilla in a sterilized glass jar and add the raw almonds. Soak the ingredients overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least eight hours. Drain the almonds, discarding the water they were soaked in.
Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Puree the almonds with half the fresh water in a blender or a food processor a few minutes until the almonds have formed a very fine pulp. Line a sieve with a piece of clean linen or cheese cloth and place it above a large bowl. Pour the almond purée into the cloth and let the liquid drain through the seive.
Wrap the almond pulp tightly in the cheese cloth and squeeze it dry. Add the second half of the water to the almond milk. Stir in the honey and taste it for the right balance between vanilla, cinnamon and honey. Grate the zest of a lemon and add one teaspoon to the almond milk. Save the rest of the lemon zest to use as a garnish.
Put the almond milk in a bowl or container in the freezer and freeze for one or two hours. Stir the mixture every half an hour or so with a fork to create ice crystals and return the almond to the freezer. Repeat the process, until the almond milk has frozen into something coarse, similar to sorbet. The smaller the container the quicker it will freeze by the way.
Serve the almond granita in a breakfast bowl topped with the fruit of the season or scoop it into a pretty glass jar and eat it on its own with just a touch of lemon zest sprinkled on top.
Freshly made almond milk keeps for up to three days in the refrigerator. The pulp that is left after squeezing out the milk is perfect for baking a tart or making smoothies ! I tend to bake a chocolate almond tart with my leftover almonds.