This lovely dessert can be prepared in advance, stored in the freezer, and kept on hand for unexpected company or a holiday dinner!
In addition to being easy to prepare, this dessert is loaded with all sorts of healthy benefits. Kefir is the result of a very happy relationship between bacteria and yeast (in the water kefir mother culture) that ends up in a delightfully fizzy probiotic beverage that aids in digestion. Not to mention, it's tasty! What better way to end a festive dinner?
If you've always got water kefir going, prep time takes just minutes and other tasks can be done in between stirring sessions. If you don't typically have it on hand, you can easily make it in advance with about a half hour or so of prep time. Just make sure that you prepare the kefir far enough ahead of schedule so that it's nice and fizzy from the fermentation.
First Make the Water Kefir
You can refer to Wardee's instructions for basic first and second ferment. What follows is a similar process, but mine is tweaked to make it work for us. Everyone's water kefir is different!
The first ferment (I do half gallon batches) is approximately 48 hours at room temperature.
When it's time for the second ferment, I flavor the water kefir with 1/3 cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice and divide it evenly into two 1 liter Grolsch style bottles; filling just to the shoulder of the bottle. Occasionally I will add a small amount of crystallized ginger to the bottle before pouring in the liquid. I allow it to ferment for about 6 days total — 2 days at room temperature on the counter and then 4 days in the refrigerator. Then it's fizzy and fermented to our liking.
How to Make Water Kefir Granita
For the granita pictured, I used about 32 ounces of grapefruit-flavored water kefir soda and poured it into an 8″ glass square pan — but any amount of liquid can be adapted to your scenario.
The key is to stir often before it freezes solid to give it the snowy texture. If you wish to make more than one batch, I recommend using a few pans rather than pouring a large amount into one single pan.
1. If need be, prepare your water kefir (see above). This should be started 8 days before. Grapefruit juice creates a lovely, light, “citrusy” flavor that isn't too sweet. Other flavors that would be nice for the holidays would be cranberry and/or pomegranate.
2. Pour the desired amount of water kefir into a glass baking dish. Always take great care when opening your kefir. I open mine in the sink while holding a container such as a plastic pitcher upside down on top of it in case the lid pops off. If you'd like, you can add a generous grating of fresh ginger. For my granitas, I added about 1 teaspoon. Stir well to combine.
3. Put the mixture in the freezer and set the timer for 15 minutes. You can go fold laundry, wrap gifts, or tidy up the kitchen, but don't wander off too far because the liquid will freeze faster than you think.
4. When you return to your granita, it should have a thin layer of ice on the top. Using a fork, stir and scrape the ice, making it slushy. Then return it to the freezer for another 15 minutes.
5. Repeat the process until no liquid remains and the entire pan looks like it is filled with snow. Cover so it's airtight, then leave in the freezer. The granita should keep through the winter season.
6. To serve: scoop into pretty glass bowls and serve with a spoon. Serve alone or accompanied by cookies.
What are some of your do-ahead dishes for entertaining or special occasions during the winter?
This post was featured in 51 Cold Summer Desserts.
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