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!
- 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
- Put a thin-sided 9 x13-inch pan in the freezer.
- In a small saucepan, make the simple syrup by stirring together the water and the sugar.
- 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.
- Pour the mixture into the cold aluminum pan, carefully put back in freezer for 30 minutes.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.