Conventional wisdom usually dictates:
“Don’t eat the yellow snow.”
It’s sage advice, really. And it usually makes sense considering the circumstances that cause the yellowing of snow:
- Rabid Raccoons
- The Abominable Snowman, Yeti, and/or Sasquatch
Drunken Eskimos Canadians RussiansCold Climate Drunks in general
However, this advice does not take into consideration my sublimely yellowy and snowy dessert: Kalamansi Granita.
Granitas are icy desserts usually flavored with fruit juice – think of granitas as upscale snow cones. All one needs to make a granita is a shallow pan, a freezer, a fork, some water, sugar, and a flavor of choice (preferably not urine). And considering I had an avalanche of kalamansi at my disposal, I decided to make a granita from the juice of the sour fruit.
It’s hard for me to accurately describe the unique flavor of Filipino limes. Yes, the taste of kalamansi is similar to that of a lime, but there is just the slightest whiff of orange in there (at least to me there is). Nevertheless, kalamansi juice makes for an excellently sweet and tart granita.
I've never made a granita before, but luckily, I have the always-dependable-for-frozen treats-cookbook: The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz. David doesn't have a kalamansi granita recipe in The Perfect Scoop, but he does have a wonderful Lime Granita. To make my Kalamansi Granita, all I did was substitute a cup of kalamansi juice for the lime juice in David’s recipe.
Coming by a cup of kalamansi juice is easier said than done considering that it takes, oh, I don’t know, a jillion kalamansi limes to yield the needed cup of juice. And when you have a jillion kalamansi limes to squeeze, that means you have to deal with about 5 jillion kalamansi seeds (Like every cowboy sings a sad sad song, every kalamansi has its seeds).
To handle this seed dilemma, I first cut the kalamansi in half and then placed the halves in the hopper of my garlic press and used the press kinda like a mini citrus squeezer:
I got all juice and no seeds! Alas, despite this awesome use of my garlic press, going through a mountain of kalamansi like this would take hours. This application is probably best suited for when using smaller quantities of kalamansi, like when you need a spritz over your pancit or sotanghon but don't want any seeds to fall in your noodles.
The best way to really deal with all these seeds is to cut the kalamansi in half and then squeeze the juice through a strainer set over a measuring cup.
I honestly don’t know how many kalamansi it takes to get a cup of golden kalamansi juice. I stopped counting after three (okay, maybe it was two). But once you get the cup of kalamansi juice, combine it with a syrup of sugar, water, and kalamansi rind and pour into a shallow pan (I used a 9x13 baking pan). Stick the mixture in the freezer, then after an hour, take a fork and scrape up any ice crystals that may have formed. Repeat the fork scraping every half hour for maybe another 4 hours (granitas are easy to make, but they take some time!) until all you have left in the pan are fine ice crystals.
...and if you're so inclined, top the Kalamansi Granita off with a dollop of whipped cream:
Mmmmm. Yellow snow never tasted so good.
(adapted from David Lebovitz's Lime Granita from The Perfect Scoop).
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
Zest from 6 kalamansi limes
1 cup kalamansi juice
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the water with all of the sugar. Grate the zest of the 6 kalamansi limes into the saucepan (kalamansi have very thin skins, so use a light touch when zesting them). Heat the sugar, water, and zest over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove syrup from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water to the syrup and then chill in the refrigerator. Add the cup of kalamansi juice to the cooled syrup, mix well, and pour into a shallow pan.
Place the shallow pan in the freezer for one hour. Once the mixture begins to freeze around the edges, scrape any ice towards the center with a fork and return to the freezer. Check the mixture every 30 minutes afterwards, scraping the ice each time and breaking up any large chunks. Continue this until the entire mixture is frozen and broken into fine ice crystals. Serve in individual dishes.
Pssst. Hey, you know what else you could do with Kalamansi Granita? Top a shot of ice cold Kalamansi Infused Vodka with some Kalamansi Granita for a sweet and sour Slurpee-like shooter that I have dubbed Pee Pee Punch: