This is the definitive dessert for a dinner party because it is so easy to make and assemble and the results are fabulous. It is also great for serving a large crowd – just double or triple the recipe. I guarantee that everyone will enjoy this. You may end up with a little extra candied lime zest. If so, use it to top your breakfast yoghurt or plain vanilla ice cream.
For the granita, put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for a couple of minutes then pour into a large bowl and leave to cool completely. Add the orange juice and Champagne to the syrup. Stir well then pour the mixture into a large, shallow, freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for an hour, then remove and stir the ice crystals around the edge of the container with a fork. Repeat the freezing and stirring until the entire mixture consists of ice crystals. Freeze until ready to serve.
Prepare the candied lime. Thinly slice off the zest of the limes without taking in any white pith. If you do get some white pith on the zests, slice it off with a small sharp knife. Stacking a few at a time, thinly slice the zest into thin matchstick strips. Put these into a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then immediately drain the zest and return to the pan. Add the sugar and water and bring to a simmer, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer over a medium heat for 1–1¼ hours until the zest is soft. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool completely. Drain the lime pieces and spread out on a piece of kitchen paper to dry.
For the crème chantilly, put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks then set aside.
To serve, spoon the crème Chantilly into chilled bowls and top with the granita. Decorate with the candied lime and serve immediately.
Recipe from Jason Atherton’s SOCIAL SUPPERS, published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Photography by John Carey.