Granita di caffe'-2 ways
It was a sad, sad day when I gave our ice cream maker away, almost as devastating as when we gave our Kitchen Aid mixer with a million attachments away. Granitas, ice creams and sorbets are a necessity during summertime and this was my first go at it without my beloved machine.
Granitas were originally from the south of Italy, Sicily to be exact. It makes sense to be since it’s hot, hot, hot down there in the summer. I first had this granita at a dinner party my husband threw for a few friends last summer. One of the guests was from Palermo and we served him two distinctly Sicilian things, one was a fennel and orange salad and the other was this icy treat. As we were enjoying our granitas, we all commented that in Seattle, a coffee crazed town, there was no place to buy a decent espresso granita. From that day on, I whipped out the ice cream machine and made a granita or sorbet every week until we moved. This is a refreshing variation from the usual espresso we have after dinner.
About 3-3 1/2 C. espresso
1 cup of sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Biscotti for each glass, if desired
If you have an espresso machine, make a shot of espresso and dilute with ¼-1/3 C. water, do this until you have about 3-3 ½ C. of coffee.
If you have a moka espresso maker, make about 3 full large batches.
Add the sugar dissolve and let cool.
As an experiment I made the granita 2 ways (total freezing time depends on your freezer):
I poured ½ of the mixture into a shallow container with a lid and set it in the freezer. About every 30 minutes to an hour, I shook the container. After 2 hours, scraped the frozen bits away from the sides and incorporated into the rest of the mix and let freeze. When you are ready to serve, use a fork to scrape and fluff the granita before you spoon into serving glasses. With this method, you get visible ice crystals and a nice mouth feel which contrasts with the whipped cream. I like this method best.
Pour the other ½ of the mixture in a blender and put the whole thing in the freezer, every 30 minutes to an hour, give it a whirl. Keep the granita in the blender until it is almost frozen and you just cannot possibly get the blender to work anymore. Then scrape the creamy and noticeable lighter brown mixture into a container and freeze. Again serve with whipped cream.