Granita is a popular frozen Italian dessert that is made with water, sugar, and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, some of the more traditional and regional flavors are watermelon, lemon, almond, jasmine, mulberry, and coffee. Granita is sort of like sorbet and Italian ice except the granules are much larger. In Sicily, granita is sometimes served with soft brioche rolls and eaten for breakfast. Making granita is easy and you can make it with just about any fruit or flavor combination. The combination of coffee and anise flavors is delicious.
This recipe makes use of the most primitive kitchen tools – a fork or whisk. You can use an ice cream maker to speed up the process. The result will be a much smoother ice. Granita requires several hours of advance preparation (6 to 8 hours) to allow the mixture time to freeze. It can also be made ahead of time and stored for several days in the freezer.
Serve the espresso granita with whipped cream and a chocolate-covered espresso bean on top. Try adding a touch of anise-flavored liqueur to homemade whipped cream to serve on top.
Expresso and Anise Granita – Granita di Caffe e Anice
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
4 cups of freshly brewed strong espresso
2 cups warm water
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon anise-flavored liqueur (Anisette, Sambuca, Black Sambuca)
Freshly whipped cream (unsweetened or lightly sweetened)
Chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional)
MAKE THE GRANITA MIXTURE: Combine the coffee, water, and sugar in medium bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool and stir in the liqueur.
FREEZE THE MIXTURE: Place the mixture in a 9-inch by 13-inch metal baking pan and place in the freezer on a level surface.
BREAK UP THE MIXTURE: After 1 hour remove the mixture from the freezer. Using a dinner fork or sturdy whisk, break up and scrape any ice crystals that have formed along the sides and bottom of the pan. Return to freezer and repeat breaking up and scraping the ice crystals every 30-minutes for 4 to 6 hours or more, until the mixture is thoroughly frozen.
Break up the ice and any lumps that have formed once more before serving to fluff up the granules. You can also place in a covered container and freeze for several days.
4. Serve the Granita: Place the granita in serving clear serving glasses. Top with whipped cream and an espresso bean.