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Flavorful Fridays: Granita–Coffee Ice with Whipped Cream

March 26, 2010

When my siblings and I were younger, we used to loved shaved ice. Shaved ice was the ultimate carnival treat (although cotton candy was right up there, too). Maybe it was the way the colored ice slipped down our throats on a hot summer day, or maybe it was the Red Dye #9 that was never found in homemade treats but was suddenly perfectly acceptable to be eaten from pushcarts at the local fair, or maybe it was the carefree atmosphere of the carnival rides and pony rides. Whatever it was, shaved ice was suddenly the most refreshing treat to enjoy on a hot summer day.

Granita reminds me of shaved ice…but for adults. It has that same slushy consistency of the shaved ice but with a grown-up flavor of espresso. Will and I found this treat entirely refreshing. So much so that we’re determined to make other flavors of granita during the hot summer months–limoncello granita, anyone?

This recipe is very easy to make, but be sure to plan ahead to give the espresso time to freeze before serving. Also, as a word of caution, unless you are one of the few people able to fall asleep shortly after consuming coffee, I would recommend saving this treat for a brunch or lunch dessert, as you won’t subject your family or any guests to a late, sleepless night.

Granita–Coffee Ice with Whipped Cream

From Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking


1-1/2 cups very strong espresso coffee, more concentrated than you would usually make it

1 Tablespoon sugar or more, to taste, plus 1 teaspoons sugar

1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream


Make the coffee and while it is still hot, dissolve the Tablespoon or more of sugar in it. When the coffee is cold, pout it into ice-cube trays, filling them to a depth of no more than 1/2 inch.

When the coffee has frozen into cubes, and you are ready to serve, take the bowl out of the freezer, put in the cream and the 2 teaspoons sugar, and whip it with a whisk until it becomes stiff.

Unmold the coffee cubes and put them in the food processor bowl. Run the metal blade, turning it on and off 4 or 5 times, until the frozen cubes have been ground to fine crystals, granita. Put the granita into individual glass bowls or stemware, top with the whipped cream, and serve at once.

Will says this looks like brown sugar or granola, but I promise it's granita.


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