KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 – As Chinese New Year approaches, we are beginning to see splashes of red everywhere. Red is the most auspicious colour, after all.

Everything ought to be ang ang ("red red” in Hokkien). From the deep maroon of bakkwa (salty-sweet dried pork) to pops of scarlet in our prosperity yee sang (raw fish salad), the more red, the better.

Well, let’s whet our appetite for abundant Chinese New Year feasts to come with something more delicate – but still full of punchy reds.

Sure we could just grab a tub of ice cream, but a granita is lighter and more refreshing. For one, it’s free of dairy (though we will reintroduce some creamy richness too).

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I first had this as a palate cleanser at a French fine dining restaurant. The granita then was lemon based.

Oh so refreshing!
Oh so refreshing!

But the glorious crimson of frozen raspberries and a dark burgundy of a bold, full-bodied Shiraz is far more thrilling, especially given ‘tis the season for celebrations and merry-making.

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Resveratrol in red wine might help lower LDL cholesterol.
Resveratrol in red wine might help lower LDL cholesterol.

Imagine a chilled cup of Greek yoghurt (there’s that creamy richness I promised earlier!) topped with a granita of ravishing raspberries and ruby red wine. Now that’s some ang ang with a cool, ambrosial twist!

RASPBERRY & RED WINE GRANITA WITH GREEK YOGHURT

The classic method to make granita is fairly straightforward though it requires some patience. You will need a shallow tray, a food processor and sufficient freezer space (for the aforementioned tray).

Frozen raspberries are perfect for this recipe.
Frozen raspberries are perfect for this recipe.

Typically the fruit juices (frozen raspberries in this instance) are poured into the tray and frozen for a few hours until nearly solid. The semi-frozen berry mash is taken out intermittently during this process and scraped into coarse chunks to form ice crystals.

Repeat a few times and voila! you have granita.

Ingredients

400g frozen raspberries

100ml water

100g sugar

Pinch of salt

400ml red wine

1 small tub of Greek yoghurt

Runny honey (optional)

Method

Add the frozen raspberries, water, sugar and salt to a pan. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Purée in a food processor. Some prefer to use the purée as is, but this may create a very chunky granita and it might take longer to form the ice crystals.

A cleaner technique would be to strain the purée through a fine strainer. Allow the collected raspberry juices to cool into a syrup. (Reserve the fruit purée for another recipe, or add to your bowl of morning oats and granola.)

When the raspberry syrup has cooled, combine it with the red wine in a bowl. Pour into a shallow tray. Place into the freezer to solidify.

You know your granita is ready when you see the coarsely shaped ice crystals.
You know your granita is ready when you see the coarsely shaped ice crystals.

At this point, you can set a timer to remove the tray from the freezer every hour to scrape the raspberry and red wine mixture with a fork to form ice crystals. Repeat a few times until the granita has formed; typically 4-5 hours.

A dollop of thick and creamy Greek yoghurt adds a dairy tang to the granita.
A dollop of thick and creamy Greek yoghurt adds a dairy tang to the granita.

To serve, spoon some Greek yoghurt into a chilled cup. Top with the granita. If desired, drizzle some runny honey and serve immediately.

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