Kalamansi Granita

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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:

  • Huskies
  • Rabid Raccoons
  • The Abominable Snowman, Yeti, and/or Sasquatch
  • Tauntauns
  • Drunken Eskimos Canadians Russians Cold 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:

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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.

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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 9×13 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.

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Scoop the granita into the serving dish of your choice…

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…and if you’re so inclined, top the Kalamansi Granita off with a dollop of whipped cream:

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Mmmmm. Yellow snow never tasted so good.

Kalamansi Granita
(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:

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  • Manggy October 21, 2007, 9:14 pm

    I love calamansi! There really aren’t enough commercially available calamansi frozen treats. I love the granita (I just won’t add whipped cream)!

    Reply
  • TeddyKim October 22, 2007, 10:38 am

    Tauntauns, tee-hee!
    Nice use of your garlic press too! I would have never thought of that.

    Reply
  • Krizia October 22, 2007, 10:46 am

    PEE PEE PUNCH: Most. attractive. name. ever.
    Thanks for this beverage/dessert recipe for us non-alchies haha! You went through some major effort getting all that juice. It best have been the bombest granita you ever did set your durn tastebuds on! What about making…kalamansi sorbet??

    Reply
  • Wandering Chopsticks October 22, 2007, 12:45 pm

    The childish part of me is giggling as I say, “I’d like a glass of pee pee punch please.” 😛
    Remember that children’s game where you tried to get other kids to spell “I CUP”? 😛

    Reply
  • Julie October 22, 2007, 8:28 pm

    Dangit, of the dozens of trees my parents grew, I don’t think they ever grew a kalamansi. That looks so awesome.

    Reply
  • Mila October 23, 2007, 12:26 am

    triple p! Snorting with laughter!
    And a super duper idea again, your second series (first ube, now kalamansi) is superb. Ok, i’ll stop the alliteration now.
    I think what makes kalamansi better than lime or lemon is the cleansing aspect of the flavor. Sort of astringent in a way. Your granita would make for a perfect palate cleanser in a menu that would include foie, lobsters, and other unguent food items. Hmmm, maybe you could look into concocting a kalamansi bitter liquer. Sort of like a yellow campari.

    Reply
  • Katrina October 23, 2007, 5:24 am

    Because of your recent posts, I felt compelled to order a calamansi slush with lunch today. Yum!

    Reply
  • oggi October 23, 2007, 7:32 am

    I’m so jealous you have so much calamansi. Can I have the leftover seeds and rinds?
    I’d love to have a shot or 2 of that Pee Pee Punch, and saying it over and over ppp,ppp!:D

    Reply
  • Pat October 24, 2007, 7:50 am

    I’m going to be serving my guests some pee pee punch at my next dinner party … hee hee …
    I have a Q for ya: is kalamansi spelt with a ‘k’ or a ‘c’? I’ve seen it both ways.

    Reply
  • veron October 24, 2007, 12:44 pm

    I envy that stash of calamansi you have. What a delightful iced delight!

    Reply
  • Matt Hurst October 24, 2007, 2:02 pm

    I love the Brett Michaels’ reference.

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia October 26, 2007, 2:59 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Manggy. This granita is just as good without the whipped cream.
    Thanks TK. “And I thought these things smelled bad on the outside!”
    What up Kriz? There were already a few kalamansi sorbet recipes on the intranets, so I wanted to try and make something a little different.
    Dub C, did you ever do the one where you spell pig backwards and say “funny”? Gee, I pee funny. Ah, that one’s a classic.
    Thanks Julie!
    Hi Mila. Yes, this granita makes for a wonderful palate cleanser. I just wish I could have it with that menu you suggest;)
    See how lucky you are Katrina! A calamansi slush for lunch seems like an everyday thing for you! I’ve got to crank it out myself here:)
    Hi oggi. I wonder if I could replant the seeds and if a fruiting tree would result.
    Hi Pat! I’ve seen it spelled both ways as well, and I’m not sure either version would be wrong. I use the “k” only because that’s how it was spelled on the label of my tree.
    Hi veron, my stash is quickly running out so I may have to go back for more soon.
    Matt, will you rock my world?

    Reply
  • Cynthia October 26, 2007, 5:51 pm

    Marvin, I was going crazy for the granita but then I got to the pee pee punch and rose-coloured lens of love appeared :)

    Reply
  • maybahay October 28, 2007, 2:19 pm

    great idea marvin. now i know what i’m doing with the kalamansi stash in my fridge. perfect for the hot days coming my way.

    Reply
  • Christine October 29, 2007, 8:37 pm

    I want some of the peepee punch!! The granita looks so refreshing too. But I still want that punch!
    Over here, my sister and her friends (and me when I join them for drinks usually at the beach) love to have vodka with Calamansi Soda, which come in cans. Then they crush some ice and add it to the glass. So I can imagine what your punch tastes like , sans the carbonation ( which I personally would prefer). :)

    Reply
  • pleasurepalate October 31, 2007, 5:14 am

    What a couple of great ways to make use of kalamansi, other than just as juice or squirting on noodles. Complete genius! I’m going to have to try both the granita and infused vodka recipes myself, especially since I have two kalamansi bushes in my backyard. 😀

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia October 31, 2007, 9:02 pm

    Cynthia, the shot of vodka and granita is quite good;)
    Hi maybahay. Your kalamansi will be very refreshing for the hot days to come.
    Hi Christine! Calamansi soda, eh? That would be an even better option than soda water;) I need to find me some here.
    Hello pleasurepalate. You are very lucky to have your own source of kalamansi. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Reply
  • IvyG January 30, 2008, 10:27 am

    Interesting, the abundance of kalamansi is somewhat situated here in our backyard. I will definitely try this!

    Reply
  • Laurie May 25, 2009, 1:57 pm

    This recipe looks awesome! I’m glad you posted. I have planted a calamondin/kalamansi orchard in Florida, but it will be a couple of years before I have fruit. I am setting up a website with recipes in the meantime and would love to list this and give credit where credit is due. I can be reached at murgatroyd13@hotmail.com
    And I read that if you cut just the tip off the kalamansi first, and then squeeze by hand, it keeps more seeds out of the juice and saves time. I’ve tried and it does work better than halving the fruit.

    Reply
  • Wenko June 12, 2009, 7:01 pm

    PEE PEE punch…what a treat!

    Reply
  • Hans January 17, 2011, 2:59 am

    Calamansi juice has a thermodynamic effect similar to dalandan juice: they make the ice colder. Trust me, they made fresh dalandan zagu before and the sago froze solid in a matter of minutes

    Reply
  • RHEA CRUZ January 20, 2012, 7:59 pm

    WHERE CAN I BUY THE CALAMANSI SQUIZZER…TNX

    Reply
  • L.Dean October 18, 2013, 4:05 am

    I bought a calamansi tree about 10 years ago after tasting the drink at a Filipino restaurant. It was so delicious and refreshing! I ordered the tree from Armstrong nursery in Pasadena. But I digress,I wanted to offer you my way of juicing the calamansi. I wash them,then juice them whole using a hand juicer,the metal kind you find in Hispanic markets for juicing limes. I put 2 or 3 depending on the size.I juice them twice and get loads of juice. I always have calamansi juice in the freezer. I mix it with lemons to make a drink,I make calamansi squares(like lemon squares( and any recipe calling for citrus,I use calamansi. Love it!

    Reply

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