Your favorite chef is back and this month I wanted to do something for the a little more fun. Most people think granita is something you get a Starbucks but it really is a simple Italian dessert that after you have made it once, you can do endless amounts of exciting things. I’m going to walk you through the basic recipe; it’s up to you to make it fun! What’s great about granita, is you only need a few ingredients and it doesn’t take much active time. The only draw back is you have to tend to it every 30 minutes for about 4 hours, so this is one dish you don’t want to set it and forget it. Now, let’s get started!
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pot (2 to 4 quarts). Bring to a simmer and whisk everything together. Once all the ingredients are mixed and fully incorporated, pour the mixture into a large baking pan (I recommend a pyrex casserole dish if I have one) but be sure that it can fit into your freezer and still stay level. You don’t want to fill it more than ¾ inches or you’re going to make a mess. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature before you put it in the freezer (we don’t want to melt anything). Set a timer for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes has passed, pull the pan out of the freezer and using a fork, mix the granita base, making sure to scrape any frozen pieces off the sides of the dish. It’s important to mix it well the first time breaking up any large pieces of ice. Return the dish with the granita back to the freezer and set the timer for 30 more minutes. Again, remove the dish from the freezer when time has elapsed and using a fork, mix the granita breaking apart any large pieces of ice by pushing the back of the fork tongs into the ice. We are going to repeat this process four or five more times every 30 minutes until the the ice is no longer slushy and has a nice fluff to it. The more attention you pay to breaking up the larger pieces of ice, the better it’s going to be.
Now the real fun starts! Once are granita is made, we can add all kinds of fun ingredients to it. You could do whipped cream and berries, cubed up angel food cake and cherries, or lady finger cookies with some coffee liqueur. Just remember to try and work with chilled products – the granita melts quickly, so work fast and have some chilled glasses on hand to serve your new favorite summer dessert!
Once you have mastered the chocolate version of granita, try other flavors, such as champagne, tomato, peach… the sky’s the limit. Have fun and provecho!