Granita di Caffe

 

Bold and vitally refreshing, this sweet coffee cooler is a traditional Sicilian summer treat. As the summer starts to sizzle, granita di caffe is the typical breakfast in Sicily. A mixture of espresso and simple syrup is frozen into a crunchy sort-of slush. The granita (and gelati) is eaten with a warm buttery brioscia (similar to the French brioche). Top with a generous dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream and you have colazione (breakfast) Sicilian style!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup espresso (or very strong coffee)
  • whipping cream
  • sugar to taste
  • splash vanilla extract
  1. Put a thin-sided 9 x13-inch pan in the freezer.
  2. In a small saucepan, make the simple syrup by stirring together the water and the sugar.
  3. On medium-high heat, bring sugar mixture to a boil, cook for two minutes to completely dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat, add the espresso (or strong coffee). Let cool.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cold aluminum pan, carefully put back in freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Take the pan out of the freezer, you’ll see that ice crystals have formed around the pan (see Lemon Granita). Using a spatula, stir the mixture to incorporate the ice. Return to freezer.
  6. For the next two hours, you’ll remove the pan from the freezer and “rake” the ice every 30 minutes (returning it back to the freezer each time).
  7. To serve, spoon granita in small, chilled cups or bowls with spoons (if you don’t have any brioscia). Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, sweetened with just a hint of sugar and a splash of vanilla.
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