Sunday, 24 January 2010

Prickly Pear Granita, and a scorpion

Prickly Pear GranitaI have prickles, spikes and burny things on my mind today.  Last night, my son discovered a large scorpion skulking (with intent, I imagined) in my dog's food bowl.

I thought we might see the odd critter in our new garden - which is tucked  up against a mountain - but I hadn't figured on scorpions, and am going to think twice now about walking barefoot in the garden at night.

Then, this morning, I was alarmed when my husband complained that he was burning and itching all over: had - shudder - a scorpion burrowed into the bedclothes?  Then I remembered that yesterday my daughter had -  in the interests of science, you understand -  'tested' my canister of pepper spray .  I'd laughed it off, and told her to wipe up any residue. 'What did you clean up the mess with?' I asked her now, the penny slowly dropping.  'With dad's bath towel!' she yelled.

Finally, scratching in the fridge for breakfast, I found a big bag of prickly pears I'd bought a few days ago and forgotten about. They were the last thing I wanted to touch, feeling as creepy and crawly as I did, but I am just smitten by this most beautiful and refreshing fruit (see my earlier post) so I put on a pair of gloves and turned them into a granita. This is a delicate ice with an ethereal flavour: so easy to make and  perfect for a hot day.

Foodista Cookbook Winner

Prickly Pear Granita

1 cup (250 ml) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) water
4 chilled prickly pears, peeled (click here for peeling tips)
the juice of a lemon

Place a large, flat metal dish (a clean roasting pan is ideal; a ceramic one will do) in your freezer and turn the freezer to its lowest setting. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Peel the prickly pears, chop roughly and place in a blender. Blend to a thick pulp. Measure the pulp, place it in a bowl, and add the equivalent amount of cooled sugar syrup (keep the rest in the fridge for future ices). Stir in the juice of a lemon.

Pour the mixture into the frozen dish, which should be smoking cold by now, and place back in the freezer. After about half an hour, or when the mixture starts to get slushy, scrape and scratch the mixture with a fork to form crystals. Continue scraping and scratching every twenty minutes or so, so you end up with a pile of icy, fluffy, crystalline flakes. Set a timer so ensure that you don't forget to scrape: if you do, the mixture will harden and you will have to start all over again.

Half an hour before serving, put some martini glasses or small dessert bowls in the freezer. Pile the granita into the cold glasses and serve immediately. Garnish with a scorpion. Kidding.

Makes about 500 ml; serves 4.

The scorpion I found in my garden

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Nina Timm said...

I love the color of that granita.......I could paint a wall in that color!!! Mmmmm!

Cam de la Ron said...

I've never had prickly pear, but this granita looks very refreshing. I heard that this fruit does something dramatic and positive to the blood sugar of diabetics... I think??? Cam

Maryon said...

You know how I feel about the prickly pears but scorpions....take 'em or, preferably,leave them be!
My late father (Prof of Entomology Rhodes University 1968 - 1983) always said beware..the smaller the scorpion the bigger the danger and the bigger they are visa versa!How big was this specimen?

Rose&Thorn said...

A little girl asked her dad if he would have a tea party with her and so like a great dad he said yes. She set the table for her teddy bears and dad to have tea. The dad sat down in the little chair and waited for her to come in. She arrived with the tea which was really water and filled each cup. She then sat down and the drank the water and had a great time. She liked her dad being there so much that she decided to have the tea party several times that day~ The dad was so excited that his little girl was having fun.
When the mom came home he went rushing over to meet her and told her of the wonderful day he had with their little girl and told of the exciting time at all the tea parties. After he was done telling his wife of the days events the wife started laughing and could barely stop. He asked her what was so funny and in return his wife looked at him and said, " Honey, Do you realize that the only water your daughter can reach is the toilet water?"

Jeanne said...

Prickly pear granita - you are inspired!!

And scorpions... aaarrrgh! I may have to rethink that date we have for cocktails on your deck in March ;-) The only place I ever saw scorpions (lots of) was at a particular house we rented in Plett. it was built on the Central beach rocks and invariably we would find a scoprion a day - in the bathroom sink, in the garage, coming under the toilet door (usually when you were locked in there with it) - it freaked me out totally! Please tell me you took that pic of the scorpion on a VERY long zoom??

Juno said...

Oh, that's too funny Rose. Maryon, it was quite small (about 6 or 7 cm long); much smaller in fact than it looks in the photo. Jeanne, I did not take the picture. For obvious reasons.

Kit said...

Lovely looking recipe and not so lovely creepy-crawly! We get those almost translucent ones here and often tiny ones which are so hard to see. Luckily they're very shy, so we only get to meet, with great horror on both sides, very occasionally.