The Secret Ingredient (Key Lime): Key Lime Granita with Vodka

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

Key lime pie is this Florida girl's favorite dessert. This granita version is slightly less guilt-inducing. It starts with yellow jade key lime juice, super tart, with vanilla sugar and cream for a little key lime pie something. A shot of vodka doesn't hurt.

This recipe is super tart, like a lime FrozeFruit popsicle. If you like it less strident, decrease the amount of lime juice and up the proportion of water, or add a bit more vanilla sugar to your taste.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

The Secret Ingredient (Key Lime): Key Lime Granita with Vodka

About This Recipe


  • 1 cup key lime juice (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Note:
  • To make vanilla sugar, stir together white sugar and a used vanilla bean with a fork or clean hands. The texture of the sugar rubs the last black specks from the inside of the vanilla pod. Waste not, want not.


  1. 1

    Bring the key lime juice, water, and vodka to a boil, and add the vanilla sugar. You could add the vodka later if you wanted to keep the alcohol content.

  2. 2

    Once the sugar has dissolved, take the mixture off the stove to cool.

  3. 3

    Add the cream (and the vodka if you want to retain the alcohol) and decant into a brownie baking dish. Place in the freezer, and scrape with a fork once an hour for 4 hours, or until flaky and frozen in little key lime pie crystals. Serve in frozen martini glasses.


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