Traditionally granité is just blended fruit that's strained of it's pulp, with sugar added and dissolved into the fruit juice. In my recipe, I decided to keep the pulp because I like the added texture. When experimenting with more dense or seeded fruits (berries, apple, citrus, mango, pineapple, etc), I would advise straining all remnants, as the fibers may be unpleasant.
It is a rare occurrence when I list sugar as one of the ingredients of my recipe. When it comes to "candy-ing" an item, there simply is no other option. The best I can suggest is using raw, unbleached sugar, however it wont give the same bright appearance to the basil. The best recommendation I can make is to leave the basil in its raw form, and serve it finely diced as a garnish to the granité.
prep time: 20 mins
freeze time: 2 hours
6 cups seedless watermelon
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of sea salt
12 basil leaves, whole, washed and dried
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, unrefined
pinch sea salt
Blend the watermelon, honey and salt to a liquid consistency. Place the mixture in a pan that is at least 13x9 inches (the smaller the pan, the longer it will take to freeze). Check on the mixture every 20-30 minutes, scraping it with a spoon, so it will not freeze into a solid block. After the first hour the watermelon should take on a "snow like" consistency. While the granité is forming, bring water and 1/4 cup sugar to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes. Once cooled, dip each basil leaf into the simple syrup mixture, and place over a wire rack to dry- ensuring all excess liquid is removed.
Combine remaining sugar and pinch of salt in a small bowl, mix, and set aside to candy the basil leaves right before serving. After 2 hours, the granité should be the consistency of light flaky snow, when scraped by a spoon. At this time, quickly and lightly dip the basil leaves into the dry sugar mixture. Scoop one cup of the granité into a bowl and garnish with candied basil leaf.