If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat, why not head to the kitchen for a granita. This semi-frozen Italian dessert originated on the island of Sicily, off the sunny coast of the Mediterranean Sea. A granita gets its light, fluffy texture from scraping ice crystals with a fork during the freezing process. And the ingredients are as simple as can be — typically water, fresh fruit juice (or coffee) and sugar.
While a granita may sound like a grown-up version of a snow cone, it’s even better than you could imagine, especially when you add spirits from your bar cabinet into the mix. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel to Italy to try this amazing treat when you can make it right in your own kitchen! Here are a few of our favorite granita recipes to make this summer, plus easy-to-follow instructions for perfecting the freezer method.
The Freezer Method
Making a granita requires a bit of patience but is ultimately easy to accomplish. Simply mix your ingredients in a flat baking dish and place it in the freezer (tip: metal freezes quicker than tempered glass or ceramic). After about 30 minutes, remove the baking dish, scrape or break up the ice crystals with a fork, and return the baking dish to the freezer. Follow this process for two hours or until your granita reaches a coarse, slushy consistency. Scoop some into a glass, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
Savoring a Lime Granita is a refreshing way to cool down on a sweltering summer day. This recipe features freshly squeezed lime juice plus lime zest for an extra touch of tartness. And don’t forget the sugar! If you don’t have time for the freezer method, you can also use an ice cream maker. For instructions from An Italian in My Kitchen, click here. If you’re over 21 and want to spike your summer dessert, tequila pairs nicely with lime.
For this granita, puree chunks of seedless watermelon in a blender with freshly squeezed lime juice, and strain through a sieve. Sweeten to taste with simple syrup (typically a few tablespoons per cup will do). Nice additions to a Watermelon Granita include finely chopped, fresh mint leaves or a pinch of salt. For a light and refreshing adult twist, try this recipe from Skinnytaste with a splash of vodka or white rum from your bar cabinet.
If you want to chill with a caffeine boost, try this Granita di Caffè (Coffee Granita) from Italy Magazine. Brew espresso with filtered water from your refrigerator or kitchen sink and cool it to room temperature. Add simple syrup and begin the freezer method. Like your favorite Frappuchino, top your Coffee Granita with whipped cream before serving. To make this granita even more grown-up, just add coffee liqueur.
If you make a large batch and miraculously have some left, granitas can be stored in the freezer for several days covered with plastic wrap. When ready to serve, let the ice slightly melt on the kitchen island and scrape it with a fork to return the granita to the correct consistency.
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