Granita di Caffe con Panna {Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream}

granita di caffeYou need a pick-me-up.

Whether you’re mentally preparing for Game of Thrones tonight and feel too fragile thinking about the fate of Jon Snow to do anything too strenuous, or you just need a Sunday morning boost that’s a little more decadent than your typical black cuppa Joe, you need this.

granita

Last summer I went galavanting through Italy and ate all the things. Check it out here, and also here, where I actually show you what real granita di caffe looks like from the famous La Cassa del Caffe Tazza d’Oro. When wandering the narrow cobblestoned streets of Rome, I got a little too used to walking around in the scorching hot sun with one of these in my hand.

italian granita di caffe

The word granita technically means an icy dessert made with water and sugar, so a granita di caffe is sweetened iced coffee in the most literal sense. Granita was invented in Sicily a long long time ago and was actually the earliest form of gelato. So this is serious business, guys. (See everything I learned about Italian gelato here, and try to keep the drooling to a minimum.)

sugar into coffee

So let’s break this down. All you have to do is brew some espresso (or coffee if that’s all you’ve got), add a hefty amount of sugar, and make the terribly difficult decision between adding alcohol or…well, no, you should probably just add alcohol. Not just because I said so (though that is completely valid reason), but because alcohol will prevent the granita from freezing into rock hard ice. It’s not mandatory and it’s definitely not traditional, but trust me when I say it’s a good idea.

coffee to freezefrozen granita

Then, all you have to do is mix up a quick batch of fresh whipped cream to top it all off. Throwing a bit of the same liqueur into the cream is also an excellent way to tie things all together – but that’s totally up to you. I trust your judgment. I used Frangelico in both cases for a hint of hazelnut, and I highly recommend it.

frangelico whipped cream

To make things extra snazzy, you may just feel the urge to top it all with dark chocolate shavings.

Get into it.

Granita di Caffe con Panna {Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream}
By L., inspired by La Cassa del Tazza d’Oro
Serves 4-5

1 cup brewed espresso (or coffee), still hot
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons liqueur, hazelnut or your choice

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons liqueur, hazelnut or your choice (optional)

Stir the sugar into the hot espresso until dissolved, then add the liqueur and pour it all into a wide dish or pan that will fit in your freezer. Let it cool completely, then freeze it for an hour or two. Take the coffee out and use a fork to stir it up. Repeat this every half to an hour (this is flexible) for about 3 hours until you have a bunch of coffee ice on your hands.

Whip the cream and sugar (and liqueur if using) to soft peaks. For each serving, start with a spoonful of whipped cream at the bottom of a small glass, top it with a spoonful of granita, then sandwich that with more whipped cream. Serve immediately.

parma street

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