We are smack in the middle of the dog days of summer: It’s hot, it’s humid, and the sun shines until 9 p.m. Well, that's likely the case for most of you. I live in Colorado—not in Denver, where it's 100 degrees, but up in the mountains of Summit County, where the high for today was 62.
While I may not be sweating my butt off, I am still taking advantage of the bounty of summer the best way I know how: with lots of homemade ice cream, summer berries, cherries, and now, homemade Italian ice, too.
Some day I will make it to Italy for the summer, but until then, I can make myself some Italian ice at home and pretend that I am walking the streets of Rome. The great thing about this recipe is that it's so easy. It takes just minutes to prepare, and there's no special ice cream maker required. You can just use a blender or food processor, then let the freezer do all of the heavy lifting.
Adapted from the Food Network. —Tieghan Gerard
Test Kitchen Notes
There really is no better, more refreshing treat to make in the summertime than sweet, tangy homemade Italian ice. Similar to water ice, which is a traditional summer treat that originated in Philadelphia, Italian ice is usually made with easily accessible ingredients, such as water, granulated sugar (or, in this case, honey), fresh fruit, and occasionally a splash of lemon juice to help balance out all of the sweetness. This is a great, easy dessert to make with kids. Bonus: This recipe doesn't contain any dairy or eggs.
In Italy, you'll find a similar frozen dessert called granita, which can also be prepared without an ice cream maker or other special equipment, though you'll find that granita may be a bit coarser in texture (Italian ice is usually as smooth as sorbet). But granitas vary throughout all of Italy, so this will most likely depend on where you try it.
To get the fluffiest texture for your own Italian ice, mix the ice with a fork more than once while it's freezing. You can also top with some fresh basil or mint leaves for a photo-worthy dessert. Since it's so easy to make, try multiple batches with different amounts of lemon juice in order to get that perfect tangy bite. Use a variety of citrus fruits to land on your favorite flavor. And if you really want to kick things up a notch and are having a 21+ adult summer party, you can infuse a little tequila or rum into the ice.
In Italy, you'll find a very similar frozen dessert called granita, which can also be prepared without an ice cream maker or other special equipment, though granita is a bit coarser in texture (Italian ice is as smooth as sorbet).
To get the fluffiest texture, mix the ice more than once while it's freezing. You can also top with some fresh basil or mint for a photo-worthy dessert. Since it's so easy to make, try multiple batches with different amounts of lemon juice to get that perfect bite. —The Editors
- Prep time 3 hours
- Makes 4 cups
fresh fruit (I've tried strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple)
honey or granulated sugar, or more to taste
fresh lemon juice
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend the fruit, honey or sugar, lemon juice, and 2 cups of ice until the mixture is chunky. Add the remaining ice and continue to blend until completely smooth. Taste and blend in more honey or sugar, if needed.
- Pour the mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove the ice from the freezer and scrape with a fork until slushy. Continue to freeze for another 2 hours.
- Scoop the ice into cups. If the ice is too hard to scoop, let it sit for 5 minutes to soften, or blend the ice in a blender until slushy, then scoop into cups.