This dish was inspired by a recipe in "Pain & Pleasure" (Gwynne Conlyn Publishing, 2008), but it is quite a bit simpler.
Gastronomer Andreas Viestad describes it as being in between a drink and a dessert; it can be served as either. He offers it as a little something to "wake up" guests after a long dinner.
The flavor of the granita depends a lot on which kinds of whisky and chili pepper you are using. A good malt whisky will lend a nice smoky flavor to the dish (but will also increase the cost).
Viestad prefers piri-piri or bird's-eye chili peppers, but have also used Thai, jalapeno and New Mexico varieties with good results. Using a chipotle pepper will lend a smoky malt whisky flavor even if you are using a cheaper type of whisky.
He uses Scotch, but says the dish is just as good with bourbon.
Servings: 8 - 10 small
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 to 4 small fresh or dried chili peppers, chopped or crumbled (see headnote)
- 1/3 cup Scotch whisky (see headnote)
- 20 to 30 ice cubes, plus more as needed
Place 8 to 10 whiskey tumblers or other glasses in the freezer along with the canister of a blender or the bowl and blade of a food processor.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 of the chopped or dried chili peppers, stirring to mix well. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Add the Scotch to the cooled syrup; transfer to a shallow metal pan and place in the freezer undisturbed for 1 hour; it should get very cold.
Just before serving, combine the syrup and ice cubes in the chilled blender canister or chilled food processor bowl. Pulse to form a coarse, granular texture. Add some of the remaining chopped or crumbled chili peppers to taste and pulse to combine; add ice cubes as needed for texture.
Divide among the chilled tumblers; serve immediately.
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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