Photos: Chef Kirsten Dixon's granitas

Squeeze orange juice or lemon juice to make citrus granita
Tyrone Potgieter photo
Stir the mixture every 20 minutes until it begins to form crystals
Tyrone Potgieter photo
Our blueberry, lemon, orange and apple granita
Tyrone Potgieter photo
Ice cream social, Iditarod Trail-style.
Tyrone Potgieter photo
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race checkers setting up their temporary camp and official checkpoint on Finger Lake.
Tyrone Potgieter
Kirsten Dixon

After days of preparation and anticipation, every year before the Iditarod starts, we have a little party of sorts for the checkers, the trailbreakers that might be passing through, for our guests and our staff. We all gather together after dinner and have an “ice-cream social” as it has come to be known. The kitchen crew makes an elaborate collection of desserts to inspire a little sweetness before the adrenaline-fueled day that will follow. This year, one dessert that has made the collection is a variety of flavored granita.

Granita is a popular crushed ice dessert found all over Italy -- and now it is a favorite along the Iditarod Trail. Just take a nature-inspired flavor (we are using blueberry, apple, orange, and lemon juice), add in enough sugar to preferred sweetness, and place the liquid into a container. We use a 13-inch by 9-inch shallow pan so there is plenty of surface area to freeze quickly. The pan goes into the freezer. Every 20 minutes or so, stir the mixture with a whisk at first and switch to a fork as the mixture becomes thicker and more frozen. How granular should the mixture be? It should match the snow outside your door.

Read more: Learn to make Chef Kirsten Dixon's Iditarod granitas