Trends & lifestyle

Espresso Granita Without a Gelato Machine

Of Sicily’s countless contributions to the canon of Italian cuisine, granita is undoubtedly summer’s most desired. This semi-frozen dessert comprises water, sugar, and flavourings and is one of the most refreshing panaceas for the heat. Though prepared in an array of flavors that reflect the island’s landscape, like lemon, almond, and pistachio, there’s one in particular with ties to local breakfast culture: espresso.

Easier than pie

Granita is much simpler to make than gelato–it even predates Italy’s ubiquitous frozen treat, originating during the ninth-century Arab conquest. While the rest of Italy pairs their breakfast brioche with an espresso beverage, the Sicilians stuff theirs with espresso-flavoured granita. In Messina, a city in northeast Sicily that’s the closest point to the Italian mainland, granita is so treasured that it holds De.Co – denominazione comunale di Messina – status. It’s not stuffed inside the brioche but placed in a glass and topped with whipped cream.  

Espresso granita makes for an ever-satisfying afternoon snack or dessert, and it’s significantly more straightforward to prepare than ice cream–just follow the instructions below. Keep in mind that coffee selection is crucial: quality counts, even for granita–a fruity arabica bean works best.

Making espresso granita at home 

To make the espresso granita at home, whisk together 75 ml hot espresso (hot), 10 g caster sugar, and 1 tsp. lemon juice, then pour the mixture into a very shallow tray. Place the tray in the freezer and remove it after 20 minutes to stir and break it up, creating crystals. Next, return the tray to the freezer, and repeat the last step three or four more times every 20 minutes until a light, fluffy granita takes shape.


Almond coffee over ice with espresso granita

This cold coffee beverage channels Sicily, providing a temporary escape to l’isola bella via the taste buds. To prepare this at home with a bean-to-cup coffee machine, begin by pouring a cold almond drink into the LatteCrema carafe. Next, place six ice cubes in a glass and brew a cappuccino over them, then top with squirty cream and finish with the espresso granita. It’s super easy! Find the recipe here.