Creamy Almond Granita: Granita di Mandorla

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Granita is a simple frozen dessert primarily made with fruit, water, and sugar, but
also other flavored liquids such as jasmine, coffee, and almond. It is similar to
sorbet and Italian ice, but the texture is more granular. Almond granita is my
favorite of all granitas. This recipe is so creamy it is almost like gelato. Allowing
the almond mixture to sit overnight draws out more of the almond flavor.

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds raw almonds
1-quart almond milk or water
1-2 vials (Dr. Oetker) bitter almond extract or 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3/4 cup sugar


Directions: Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Turn off heat and add
the almonds. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Drain the almonds in a colander. Working with a handful of almonds at a time, place onto a coarse kitchen towel. Rub the almonds between the towel to release the skins. Discard the skins and place the blanched almonds in a medium bowl.

Place one-third of the almonds in a food processor with 1 cup of almond milk and
process for 4 to 5 minutes. Add an additional 1/3 cup of almond milk and process
for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until smooth, thick, and creamy. Transfer to a large
non-reactive bowl. Repeat processing remaining almonds in thirds.

Stir 4 cups of hot water into the almond mixture, cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate overnight.

Place a colander over a large bowl and line with a linen or lint-free kitchen towel. Working with half of the mixture at a time, wring out as much liquid as you can from the almond mixture. You should have about 6 ½ cups of almond milk.

*The left-over almond meats can be dried and used in recipes calling for almond flour.

Place the almond milk into medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the sugar
and flavoring. If using almond extract stir in after cooking. Bring mixture to a boil
and reduce heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, continue cooking
for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a 9-inch by 13-inch metal baking pan. Let the mixture cool. Place in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours. Using a whisk or large fork, stir the mixture to break up any ice crystals that have formed. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes and using a large fork, mash and break up the mixture. Place in freezer for 15 minutes at a time, mashing and breaking up the mixture until completely frozen, about 3 hours.

Transfer to a covered plastic storage
container until ready to serve. Before serving, break up the mixture and place in a
serving bowl. Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds and/or chocolate bits.

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