Granita al Caffé (Iced Coffee)

22 Jul

The granita al caffè is a typical summer Sicilian breakfast, particularly in the Messina area. It is cool and sweet, made with water, sugar and coffee. It can be enjoyed with fresh, crusty bread or with the classic tuppu brioche, an Italian breakfast bread with a spherical ball of dough on top. Coffee granita is commonly served with whipped cream – what a delight! Its origins are ancient and go back to the time of the Arab domination. In the past granita was prepared in Sicily using winter snow gathered from the mountains and then stored throughout the year in special caves. The resulting ice was scraped and served with fruit syrup! In fact, even today the most traditional granita recipes are made by repeatedly scraping the surface of the ice. Over time this type of preparation based on snow changed to the modern granita made with an ice cream maker. The classic flavors are lemon, strawberry, almond and, naturally, coffee! The industrial recipes include gelling agents to increase the creaminess and to keep it from melting, but this is really a true homemaker’s recipe, just as my mother and my grandmother made it without using an ice cream maker and, of course, including the typical “scratch”!

Preparation time: 18 min.       Cooling time: 4 hours        Servings: 2

Granita al Caff

70 g (⅓ cup) sugar
180 ml (¾ cup) water
300 ml (1 ¼ cup) espresso
180 ml (¾ cup) fresh cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Prepare the espresso coffee and let cool completely
2. In a saucepan over low heat melt the sugar with water, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute until you obtain a syrup. Turn off the heat and allow to cool
3. Combine coffee with syrup and mix well. If you have an ice cream maker, pour in the mixture and follow the instructions. Otherwise pour it into a metal container (steel) or glass (Pyrex), because they are good conductors, and store in the freezer for two hours. Remove from the freezer and mix with a spoon to prevent solidification into ice. Repeat this procedure every 40 minutes for about 2 more hours
4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar
5. Scrape the granita with a spoon into a small glass and top with whipped cream.

Note: The amount of sugar used can be varied to reach your desired level of sweetness; taste is very personal.

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