What do you think of when you hear the word, raspa? For me it conjures up images of a hot summer day, an ice-cream truck, and holding a large snow cone made of shaved ice, flavored with fruit-flavored syrup. I can still see the sweet juice dripping down the side of my hands while quickly licking every drop of the sweet sticky syrup. Now when I see granita recipes I think of all the raspas I ate as a kid and my childhood memories in the barrio. Granitas in my opinion are a grown up fancy version of a raspa.
I first saw a coffee granita several years ago when I was reading a dessert cookbook. It looked divine and I have always wanted to try it, but decided to give it a go with a refreshing agua de jamaica instead. Mom was visiting me in Germany and while we were testing this recipe she suggested we add fresh ginger. I’m so glad we did. The addition of the ginger gave the jamaica a subtle spicy kick that I know you will love. Think chai tea and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
If it’s a refreshing dessert you want then make this simple granita. For a rich touch add a dollop of whipped cream.
What do you call them — raspas or granitas?
Jamaica and Ginger Granita
Yield: 6 Servings
1 cup sugar
1 cup of water
Jamaica and Ginger Tea:
8 cups water
¼ cup jamaica (dry hibiscus flowers)
1/8 cup ginger, peeled and diced
Candied Ginger Garnish:
6 1/8-inch slices of ginger, peeled for garnish
¼ cup of granulated sugar
Mint for garnish
Make simple syrup by combing 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-heat just long enough for the sugar to melt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.
Rinse and drain the dried jamaica flowers in a large colander.
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the flowers and ginger and cover tightly with a lid. Remove from the heat and steep for 1 hour or until cool.
Strain liquid into a pitcher and discard petals and ginger. Add 1 cup of simple syrup and stir. Pour into an 8”x8” baking dish and place in the freezer.
Dip sliced and peeled ginger into the remaining simple syrup. Roll in the sugar, shake off excess sugar and place on wax paper. Allow to set by keeping in the freezer until ready to use.
Freeze for two or three hours and gently scrape the top layer with a fork. Repeat every two hours until all of it has been scraped.
Spoon frozen crystals into a glass and garnish with a candied ginger slice and mint.
Written by Veronica / Photos by Veronica