5 Ingredients or Fewer

Roman Holiday Granita

November 10, 2010
Author Notes

In Italy they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. But they have plenty of holidays and saints days of their own. In Rome they’ve seen plenty of pilgrims, fortunately not the ones we got stuck with. As a card carrying member of the Calvin Trillin Spaghetti Carbonara for Thanksgiving Club, I chose granita as dessert. The first time I tasted this was in Tazza D’Oro in Rome. As you approach Piazza Rotunda from the east the most heavenly coffee smells surround you. Your nose will lead you to Tazza D’Oro, so you don’t need directions. At TDO you will be served this refreshing coffee based confection in clear plastic cups, but if you want to tart it up for the holiday serve it in glass mugs. Now, back to the via Veneto… - pierino —pierino

Test Kitchen Notes

If this just doesn't whisk you momentarily away to the Piazzas of Italy, I don't know what will. Pierino has taken the classic Italian Granita di caffé and in a stroke of genius, added blood orange juice to the mix. If you put a layer of whipped cream at the bottom of the glass, you'll be treated to tiny bits of frozen cream as you spoon the espresso crystals into your mouth. It may seem decadent, but abandon your cares for a bit and just go with it. The only thing missing here is a view of the Pantheon. - TiggyBee —TiggyBee

  • Serves 4
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee from your best quality espresso beans
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed juice from a blood orange, or alternatively a tangerine’
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup whipping cream
In This Recipe
  1. A pyrex loaf pan works really well for this. First mix together the coffee, citrus juice and sugar---blend well. Transfer to the loaf pan and place in your freezer. Wait for it to crystalize, maybe 30 minutes or so. Start breaking it up with a fork or a palette knife. Scrape, scrape.
  2. Back in the freezer for another 20 minutes. Scrape again. And repeat for something over an hour. What you want to end up with is crystallized shards of coffee. You can do this while your guests are working their way through the carbonara.
  3. With a whisk or hand blender whip the cream. Spoon the granita into glass mugs or martini glasses and top with cream.

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Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.