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Watermelon Granita with Sweet Lemon Cream

Watermelon Granita with Sweet Lemon Cream Related:   dairy, desserts & sweets, gluten-free, Israel & Middle East, July 4th, low-fat, pareve, Shabbat, Shavuot, vegetarian

Prep time: 45 min

Cook time: 10-15 min

Yield: 12-16 servings

I developed my twist on the traditional pairing of watermelon and labane (yogurt cheese), an ubiquitous dish in Israel borrowed from the Palestinian kitchen. By itself, the watermelon granita is a wonderful, pareve palate cleanser in a multi-course meal. Served with the sweet lemon labane cream, it is a delicious dessert and aids in the absorption of the lycopene in the watermelon. Lycopene, the nutrient that gives watermelon its red color, is said to help prevent cancer, among other things. Serve the granita and cream with a drizzle of honey and a sprig of mint.


  • Granita
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 10 cups watermelon, cubed
  • Sweet lemon cream
  • 8 ounces labane
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Zest from ½ a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons water, or as needed


  • For the granita, bring water, sugar, vanilla and mint to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Remove from heat. Add lime juice and salt and mix. Process watermelon in a food processor or blender in several batches until smooth. Place the processed watermelon in a sieve over a large bowl. Use a spoon to force as much of the watermelon through the sieve as you can. Pour syrup into the bowl with the watermelon juice and mix well. Pour the mixture into a nonreactive 10x14-inch pan and place in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, scrape the surface with a fork. Do this at least 3 times. Once the granita is frozen through, scrape all the way to the bottom. If it is too hard, let it sit outside for 10-15 minutes. Covered with plastic, the granita can be kept in the freezer for few months.
  • For the cream, mix all ingredients except water in a small bowl. Add additional honey and/or lemon juice to taste. Add water by the teaspoon and mix to reach a consistency that is light and creamy, but not runny. Serve granita and labane cream with a drizzle of honey and a sprig of mint.

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