Wednesday, April 17, 2013

granita di caffe con panna

The Missing Ingredient Challenge: coffee

One of our favourite discoveries we travelled to Rome for the first time last year was the Tazza d’Oro, a small coffee shop that sits by the Pantheon and is famous for its coffee. There were some wonderful coffees on the menu, but Paul and I only had eyes (and taste buds) for one - the Granita di Caffe con Panna (coffee granita with whipped cream).

Consisting of layers of thick whipped cream and coffee granite (made with a deep, rich espresso), we had this almost every day that we were in Rome and it was one of the first things that Paul tried to create in our kitchen once we returned home. After a few tries, he's come up with a recipe that's pretty darn close. It's super simple to make, but still manages to be an impressive dessert - perfect to end a a meal on a warm summer evening.

granita di caffe con panna (coffee granita with whipped cream)
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15 oz hot, freshly brewed espresso
2-3 tablespoons sugar
lightly sweetened thick whipped cream


Dissolve sugar in freshly brewed, hot espresso and cool to room temperature. Pour espresso into a 9” x 6” pan and place in the freezer for one hour.

After one hour, remove the tray from the freezer, let it warm slightly and then take a fork and scrape and “fluff” the frozen espresso (granita) down the length of the pan, forming icy flakes. Once you’ve “roughened” up the granite, return the granita to the freezer.

Every hour, scrape the granita with a fork, and return to the freezer. Do this every hour for the next 3-4 hours.

Just before serving, use the fork and scrape and “fluff” the granita one last time. This should produce mounds of loose crystals.

To serve: 

Pre-chill some glasses beforehand (so that the granita won’t melt so quickly).

Place a big dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of a tall glass. Scoop a serving of flaked granita into the glass. Top off the granita with another big dollop of whipped cream.

Yields: 1 cup

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