Quesadillas, granita & agua fresca

by Ed Smith

A feast of hibiscus-infused Mexican dishes


50g dried hibiscus flowers

For the granita:
Juice of ½ lime
50g caster sugar

For the agua fresca:
Juice of ½ lime
100g sugar

For the hibiscus quesadillas:
1 red onion, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp sea salt
300g waxy potatoes, cooked skin-on and chopped into rough chunks
15g coriander, leaves picked, stems finely chopped
A pinch of chipotle powder
6 x 15cm corn tortillas
50g sour cream
250g Gringa Dairy Queso Chihuahua, grated (or basic mozzarella)
1 red chilli, sliced


Pour 1½ litres of just boiled water over the dried hibiscus flowers. Cover with cling film and leave to steep for 30 mins, before draining the liquid through a sieve into a jug, and setting the re-hydrated flowers to one side.

For the granita, measure 400ml of the still warm hibiscus liquid into a tub, filling it approximately a third full. Add the lime juice and caster sugar into the liquid and stir until dissolved. Place in the freezer, scraping a fork through the cooling hibiscus mix every 90 mins or so until it’s completely frozen and fluffy like snow. If you miss a turn or two and it seems too solid, pulse in a food processor for similar effect.

For the agua fresca, use the remaining quantity of hibiscus tea. Top up with fresh water to garner 2 litres of liquid and dissolve the sugar into that. Add the lime juice. Taste—you may wish to add more sugar—and chill until required.

For the hibiscus quesadillas, sprinkle the salt over the sliced onion and leave for 5 mins, then add the lime juice and leave for at least an hour, or overnight. Sauté the cooked potatoes and chopped coriander stems in a little oil with the chipotle powder. After 5 mins add the rehydrated hibiscus flowers and warm for 2 mins. Remove from the heat.

Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. Lay a tortilla on top. On one half, spread a spoonful of sour cream, sprinkle a handful of cheese, a few potatoes, plenty of hibiscus flowers, coriander leaves, fresh chilli and more cheese. Fold the tortilla in half and press down. Flip the tortilla after 1-2 mins and cook until the cheese is melted and stringy. Cook more than one at a time if your pan allows it, or repeat as necessary.

Recipe and image: Ed Smith