Espresso Granita

I’ve just missed a deadline. Yesterday was the last day for entries for Hay Hay it’s Donna Day, hosted this month by Laura of Eat Drink Live. Between work and the weekend it sneakily slipped by me (naughty, naughty) without my noticing. That doesn’t mean I hadn’t planned to make something to fall under Laura’s refreshing theme for this round – sorbets.

The only hitch was the small (tiny really) fact that I don’t own an ice cream maker.

Sigh…my longing for an ice cream maker has grown from an easily ignorable little itch, to a full-on, sirens-blazing pandemic. It’s getting harder and harder to breeze by the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment unaffected. To add fuel to the already towering inferno, C-who-doesn’t-really-eat-sweets declares, “Of course I’ll eat ice cream

But I’ve also got my eye on a Dutch oven and methinks it’ll have to be one or the other…

So unless Santa comes to town early I will have to stick to something a tad easier…a granita. Now what exactly is the difference between a granita and a sorbet. I checked here and here, and I think the main difference is the texture: a granita being more crystal-y and a sorbet being creamier. The sorbets also seem to lean more towards fruity. I would have loved to make some kind of tropical mango or coconut sorbet (buko sherbet…mmm!), but the weather has been so strange lately -- hot and sticky one minute, then rainy and wet the next – that I was in no mood for a sunny tropical treat. I opted instead for something icy and strong…and easier to make without gadgets: an Espresso Granita.

I found this recipe in my copy of Entertaining by Donna Hay…so I’m still keeping with the spirit, if not with the deadline. I did try to make this like a sorbet and whip the coffee mixture in a metal bowl at intervals between freezings, as opposed to scraping with a fork in a pan. I think the composition is too different from a sorbet though, so it still ended up granita-ish more than sorbet-esque.

Espresso Granita
(adapted from Entertaining by Donna Hay – I halved the recipe)

  • 1 ½ cups hot water
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong espresso

- Place the water, sugar, and coffee in a saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour into a metal bowl and let cool. Cover and place in the freezer for 3 hours or until half-frozen and icy. Beat well with a wire whisk to break up the ice crystals. Return to freezer.
- Remove from freezer after 1-2 hours and beat again. Do this about 2 to 3 more times.

This is oh-so-very the thing to have on a hot afternoon! The coffee flavor was too strong for C but just right for me. I would love to serve this after a long and heavy Sunday lunch as a light cap. Or even after a quickly thrown together weekday dinner with friends. It’s light on the tummy, strong on the coffee (well, depends how strong your brew is), and cool on the palate – a perfect way to end a meal with finesse! Or to keep cool on a day when you can’t make heads or tails of the weather…