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

The Secret Ingredient

Every month we highlight a different ingredient and share weekly recipes that showcase its uses.

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

[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.


  • 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.