Earl Grey and Lavender Granita recipe
A lovely and unexpected flavor combination, that serves as a small sweet forecast of warmer weather ahead.

I saw a new stand at the market this week I hadn't noticed previously. Lavender by the Bay is a lavender farm in East Marion, NY. They were selling a variety of dried lavender sachets and bouquets, but what caught my eye were small bags of dried lavender buds "for baking and tea."

Inspired by Sophie Dahl's iced tea recipe in this month's Food and Wine magazine, I experimented with the lavender and some excellent organic earl grey loose tea I had from specialteas.com, and came up with a delicate, floral, light dessert, that is not too sweet, and slightly musky. Definitely has me dreaming of warmer days with glass of iced tea on the porch.

by Catie
Makes about one quart

4 cups water
2 TBS loose earl grey tea (more or less depending on strength of tea leaves or bags)
2 tsp dried lavender buds (again, more or less depending on what you are using)
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar (I used sugar that I had stored my old vanilla beans in--a great addition.)
1/4 cup water

To make simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the granita base: Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil and remove from heat. Add tea leaves, loose or in a tea ball, or bags, and lavender buds. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on strength desired. Strain if necessary. Add lemon juice and simple syrup, to desired sweetness.

Either spin in an ice cream maker, for sorbet, or pour into freezer-safe dish and freeze for one hour. Remove from freezer and break up ice that has formed, with forks. Return to freezer, and repeat the breaking up of the ice every hour for 2-3 hours, until uniformly frozen.

To serve, scrape out granita with a large spoon, and top with lemon zest.

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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