A Three-Ingredient Treat That’s Just Right for Summer

best granita recipe

When our family went to Sicily years ago, we were thrilled to discover the region’s traditional breakfast: granita spooned onto a brioche or, if we we were feeling it, granita spooned onto a brioche with whipped cream.

As Renato Poliafito writes in Dolci!, his delightful new cookbook of Italian sweets, “When the Sicilian sun is ablaze…starting your day with a fresh brioche bun and a flavored granita, meant to be spooned in icy piles over the bread, isn’t so much idyllic as it is necessary.”

best granita recipe

Renato, owner of the popular Brooklyn café Ciao, Gloria, also points out that granita, a semi-frozen “spoon dessert,” couldn’t be easier to make. It calls for fruit, water, sugar — and maybe a subtle flavoring, like an herb — plus a few hours of hands-off time. If you are looking for a way to optimize peak-season fruit, or salvage fruit that is on its last legs, granita is your move. And not just for breakfast. I made Renato’s Blackberry-Sage granita (recipe below) over the weekend and spooned it into ice cream bowls for an after-dinner treat.

Dolci! is gorgeous and jam-packed with classic (and classic with a twist) Italian and Italian-American baked desserts, “the shared traditions of nonnas from Bensonhurst to Bologna.” Next up: Italian Ricotta Cheesecake. Or maybe that Aperol Spritz Cake? Or Tartuffe, or Pannettone Bread Pudding…or or or…

best granita recipe

Blackberry and Sage Granita
From Dolci! American Baking with an Italian Accent by Renato Poliafito

12 ounces (340 grams) blackberries
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (4 grams) fresh sage leaves

In a blender, combine the blackberries, sugar, sage, and 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) water. Blend on high until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over and 8-by-8-inch (20 by 20 cm) baking pan and pour the mixture through. Press on the solids with a rubber spatula to release any remaining liquid, then discard the solids.

Press plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture and freeze until icy, about 2 hours.

Use a fork to scrape into a loose mixture, then freeze for another 2 hours before scraping again. Repeat the process one more time to create a granita with small icy pieces. Keep frozen until ready to serve.

That’s it! Thank you, Rentao.

P.S. Caramelized bananas with ice cream and a vanilla ice cream taste test.

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