The View from My Kitchen

Benvenuti! I hope you enjoy il panorama dalla mia cucina Italiana -- "the view from my Italian kitchen,"-- where I indulge my passion for Italian food and cooking. From here, I share some thoughts and ideas on food, as well as recipes and restaurant reviews, notes on travel, and a few garnishes from a lifetime in the entertainment industry.

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Grazie mille!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Granita: A Delightful (and Easy) Italian Dessert

With hot weather on the horizon, thoughts turn to cool, refreshing desserts that are easy to prepare.

A granita is a cousin to an Italian Ice. Believed to have originated in Sicily, granitas are great for summertime desserts or refreshers and they can be made out of just about any frozen liquid; fruit juice, coffee, tea or even wine. Some people use juices like lemon, lime, orange or apple. Some use freshly pureed fruits like raspberry, peach, watermelon, blackberry, blueberry, or strawberry. I'll use strawberry to illustrate this deliciously simple recipe, but the procedure is the same for any fruit or liquid.

Granita di Fragole Fresche

1 1/2 cups water
2 cups fresh pureed strawberries
1 tbsp lemon zest (or 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 cup sugar
mint leaves (optional, for garnish)

Combine ingredients in a small pan and heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
Remove mixture from heat and let cool. Pour cooled mixture into a glass or metal baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for about forty-five minutes to an hour.

Remove from freezer and scrape down the length of the surface with a fork, breaking it up into icy flakes. Return to freezer for another hour or so and then scrape again. Freeze for about one more hour, then scrape and serve.

When served, the granita should look like a dry, fluffy red snow. If it's too solid, let it sit in the refrigerator for about half an hour until you can scrape it with a fork.

Scoop the granita into bowls, goblets or parfait glasses. If you want to get really fancy, granita looks great in a martini glass with a little sugar around the rim. (Dampen the rim of the glass with water and dip it in sugar.) Garnish with mint leaves, if desired, and serve immediately.

Yields 4 to 6 servings

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