2000s Recipes + Menus

Melon with Basil-Lime Granita

  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr
May 2009
After such a substantial meal, you’ll want to keep things light for dessert. A little fancier than a fruit salad yet almost as easy, this cool combination of musky cantaloupe and honeydew gets an unexpected fillip from icy granita. Don’t worry if the granita melts faster than you expect—it will slump into a lovely sauce over the fruit.
  • 3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • 1 ripe honeydew
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • Bring water and 2/3 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Purée syrup with basil and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon lime juice until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 3-qt shallow nonreactive container, pressing on and then discarding solids.
  • Freeze basil-lime syrup, stirring and crushing lumps with a fork every 30 minutes, until evenly frozen, about 2 hours.
  • One hour before serving, cut melons into small wedges and peel. Combine in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoon lime juice and 1 tablespoon sugar and pour over fruit. Let macerate, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  • Scrape granita with a fork, crushing any lumps. Serve melon in shallow bowls, drizzled with melon liquid and topped with granita and mint.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Granita can be made 1 day ahead. Scrape again before serving.
  • Fruit can be cut 3 hours ahead and chilled.
  • We’ve also got a Web-exclusive recipe using the leftover mint.
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