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+ servings
Cucumber Granita
Prep Time
10 mins
Chilling time
6 hrs

Excerpted from Watermelon and Red Birds by Nicole A. Taylor. Copyright © 2022 by Nicole A. Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

I was inspired to make granita after watching my friend Benjamin “BJ” Dennis, chef and Gullah Geechee cultural bearer, serve this easy and refreshing after-dinner treat for his private clients. It was a fitting finale to the richly seasoned goodness of his cuisine. Granita, widely known as a Sicilian dessert, is a combination of fruit, sugar, and water, frozen until set. The key to smooth granita is running your fork through the mixture a few times while it’s in the freezer.

Recipe Type: Dessert
Keyword: cucumber granita
Makes: 6 servings
Author: Nicole Taylor, excerpted from 'Watermelon and Red Birds'
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups cubed cucumbers, about 2 large
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 sprigs dill
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from the heat.
  2. Transfer the sugar mixture to a high-speed blender or food processor and add the lime zest and juice, cucumber, and salt. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or baking sheet. Freeze in 45-minute increments, dragging a fork through to mix and break up large chunks after each time, until a frozen and fluffy ice mixture forms, 6 to 8 hours total.
  4. To serve, divide the granita among six dishes and garnish each with a sprig of dill and a sprinkling of lime zest.