Italian Summer with Raspberries

July  4, 2011
Author Notes

I love the simple combination of raspberries and a nice crisp Prosecco, and thought originally to use these ingredients, and not much more, to do a twist of an Italian Ice. Traditional Italian Ices are essentially composed of shaved ice with a syrup poured over it. But somewhere along the way I made a turn and never made it back to separately shaving ice. Instead this is a more granita-ish Italian Ice. The flavors are simple and pure and the ice is smooth as silk thanks to the Prosecco and a whipped egg white that I stirred in just before popping it in the freezer. It's almost embarrassingly easy to come together, like anything for summer should be, but the taste and texture bring a simple elegance to the table. —TheWimpyVegetarian

  • Makes a little more than 1 pint (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (you can use a 1 for 1 substitution of granular sugar)
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Prosecco
  • 10 mint leaves
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg white
In This Recipe
  1. Combine the raspberries and agave nectar in a medium pot. Smash the raspberries with a potato masher or the bottom of a ramekin. Add the lemon zest and juice, water, and Prosecco. Layer the mint leaves and twist them, tearing them a bit, in your fingers and add to the pot along with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the raspberries have completely broken down into a liquid. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Whip a egg white until it multiplies a few times in volume and its peaks hold, but still soft and a little droopy.
  3. Strain the cooled raspberry syrup through a chinoise or similar sized mesh strainer to remove all the seeds, the zest and the mint. Add the whipped egg white and completely incorporate with a whisk. It's not necessary to be gentle with folding it in since it's not for a non-chemical leavener. The egg white (along with the Prosecco) is there strictly to give the granita a silky texture and to keep it from freezing too solidly. It does the same thing for sorbets and is especially useful when the recipe doesn't call for alcohol.
  4. Pour into a baking pan big enough for the liquid to be 1"-2" deep. Pop it in the freezer for 2 hours. It will be partially frozen at that point, especially around the edges. With a spoon, mix the frozen part with the non-frozen part for a homogenous semi-liquid granita. Put back in the freezer for another 2 - 3 hours, checking every hour.
  5. Before serving, place the bowls you will use for it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Scoop the Raspberry Italian Ice into the bowls using a spoon or ice cream scooper.
  6. Eat, relax, savor.
  7. Note: This has a much "creamier" texture than a granita, so using a fork to break it up won't have the same result. But It will still have more of the crunchiness of a granita vs the smoothness of a sorbet.

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