History tells us flavored ices date back to ancient China, but the first frozen dessert in Italy actually came from Sicily.
Arabs brought an icy treat of frozen water, fruit and honey, which evolved to become known as granita. The granita in Sicily is so pure, so flavorful and so refreshing, that during the summer, it’s eaten all day, beginning with breakfast. No special equipment needed for this delicious strawberry granita, only a pan, a fork and a spot in your freezer.
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1/2 Cup water
- 2 Pints Organic strawberries, hulled and rinsed
- 1/2 Cup fresh orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Put a thin-sided 9×13-inch aluminum pan in the freezer.
- In a small saucepan, make the simple syrup by stirring together the water and sugar. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (Sugar should be completely dissolved). Continue to cook for one minute.
- Remove saucepan from heat and let cool. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the berries until smooth. Add the orange and lemon juices, pulse until mixed. Blend in the cooled simple syrup.
- Remove the aluminum pan from the freezer, pour the mixture into the pan and carefully place back in the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Take out the pan (Ice crystals will have formed around the edges and bottom of the pan). Using a spatula, stir the mixture to incorporate the ice, return to the freezer.
- For the next 2 hours you will remove the pan from the freezer and with a fork, “rake” the ice every 30 minutes (returning it back to the freezer each time). Let the mixture freeze completely.
- To serve, let granita stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. Give it another raking and spoon the icy treat into small chilled cups, glasses, jars or bowls with spoons (if you don’t have any brioscia).
At the Piazza del Duomo, in the charming town of Cefalu, enjoying my Sicilian breakfast of cappuccino and brioscia stuffed with strawberry AND pistachio!