Top | Pat Tanumihardja
(recipe, Pat Tanumihardja)
Tamarind is one of the most popular flavors of agua fresca, the non-alcoholic beverage sold by street vendors in Mexico and Central America. I’ve added a touch of honey and some cinnamon and turned this basic formula into a granita for the perfect dessert at your next barbecue. To make an even simpler sweet, pour the mixture into ice-pop molds.
- 3½ oz. wet tamarind (about ⅓ cup, or ¼ of a 14-ounce block; see Note)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Combine the wet tamarind and ⅔ cup hot water and let stand for 10 minutes. Massage the pulp, separating the seeds, veins, and tough membranes. Pour the mixture through a sieve, using a spoon to push down and extract as much as pulp as you can. You will get about ⅓ cup tamarind pulp.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water, the sugar, and the honey to a gentle boil over medium heat. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the tamarind pulp, whisk in the cinnamon, and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.
- Pour the tamarind mixture into a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan, cover, and place in the freezer. After one hour, or when the mixture starts to crystallize, take the pan out and scrape the mixture with a fork. Return to the freezer, scraping every 30 minutes until the granita is granular but still slightly slushy, about 2 more hours. (If you forget and the mixture hardens and forms a solid block of ice, take it out of the freezer until it melts and becomes scrapable again.)
- To serve, scoop the granita out with an ice-cream scoop and mound in glasses rimmed with cinnamon.
If you decide to use ready-made tamarind concentrate instead of a block of wet tamarind, you may have to adjust the amount because, despite its name, tamarind concentrate is usually quite diluted. Keep adding and tasting until you get the perfect sweet-and-sour balance.