Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cappucccino Granita

Granita, also called granita siciliana by Italians,is a semi-frozen dessert of sugar, water, and flavorings originally from Sicily.Related to sorbet and italian ice, in most of Sicily it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten says that "the desired texture seems to vary from city to city" on the island; on the west coast and in Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as sorbet. This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals.

Common and traditional flavoring ingredients include lemon juice, mandarin oranges, jasmine, coffee, almonds, mint, and when in season wild strawberries and black mulberries. Chocolate granitas have a tradition in the city of Catania and, according to Steingarten, nowhere else in Sicily. The nuances of the Sicilian ingredients are important to the flavor of the finished granita: Sicilian lemons are a less acidic, more floral variety similar to Meyer lemons, while the almonds used contain some number of bitter almonds, crucial to the signature almond flavor.

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
3 cups hot strong coffee
1 cup milk

  1. Place 13x9 inch metal pan in freezer to chill. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine all ingedients; blend well. Cool 30 minutes until completely cooled;
  2. Pour cooled mixture into chilled pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. When ice crystals begin to form at edges of pan, stir mixture with fork. Return to freezer; freeze about 2 hours or until completely frozen, stirring every 30 minutes.
  4. To serve, scoop into individual dessert dishes.


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