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Fun Fact: one of the earliest forms of ice cream was made through the mixing of snow and fruit pulp/juice, at least according to wikipedia. Second Fun Fact: I made one of these last night, in a tramping hut, and it was excellent. My dad and I went tramping last night, up to Powell Hut on Mt Holdsworth, in the Tararua Range. The walk in, although not long compared to many tramps, and even ones I’ve done in the past, felt very long indeed. It was five hours essentially straight up hill, which is a lot for someone whose main form of exercise is typing. However, the thing that kept me going was the competition dad and I had planned: ice cream making out of snow. This had been long talked about and debated over, and we had planned our own recipes.

The recipe I decided on was a Passionfruit and Lemon Granita. A granita is very similar to a sorbet, but with a coarser texture and visible ice crystals – a perfect way to embrace the texture of the snow. The final product far exceeded my expectations. Although soft and wet, it wasn’t too runny, it was well textured, took only minutes to make, and the flavour was pronounced and delicious. Entirely worth walking up a mountain for. Dad made a cream based maple syrup ice cream, which was also lovely. We made them with an eager judging panel of trampers, watching every move with fascination. Among the children, mine won, with them insisting on my making a second batch. The adults of the party declared a draw. Overall, it was thoroughly a success, and I will be making variations on this (raspberry, yum!) on many tramps to come. If I lived in a place that snowed more than once every ten years (see here for the one time it snowed in Wellington http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpGaIDm0azU), providing I could find clean snow I would make this at home too.

Passionfruit and Lemon Granita, made with snow

A small bag of snow, fresh, clean and soft (several cups)

Passionfrit pulp, fresh or bottled (about half a cup)

Icing sugar (about three tablespoons)

One lemon

I haven’t got exact quantities for this, as I didn’t take any measuring equipment up the mountain. Here is the method – start with small amounts and taste and adjust. Place snow in a plastic container with a lid. Add passionfruit pulp (about half a cup, though this will vary depending on how concentrated the pulp is you are using) and the icing sugar and squeeze most of the lemon into the container. Shake hard. Open the container, taste, and adjust quantities. Serve straight away, in small portions.

If you have no snow, you could probably substitute crushed ice with a similar effect. The most important part is to make and serve it reasonably quickly, so the snow doesn’t melt more than necessary. To aid this, leaving your ingredients (the passionfruit pulp and lemon) and even the container out in the snow to cool can be a good idea.