Saturday, November 8, 2014

Coffee granita

This is a strong black coffee water ice tempered with a little sweetness and topped with a swirl of nutty cream.

* Makes about 1 1/2 pints
  • 3 cups freshly made very strong black coffee
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water, chilled
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. toasted hazelnuts

Mix the hot coffee, sugar, and vanilla together. Let cool, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chilled water and pour into a freezer container.

Freeze until slushy. Lightly break up with a fork, then continue freezing until almost firm.
Finely grind most of the nuts and roughly crush the rest. Whip the cream until frothy and fold in the ground nuts. Place in the freezer for the last 15 minutes before serving.

Chill 4 to 6 tall glasses. Remove the granita from the freezer and break it up with a fork. Fill the chilled glasses with the coffee ice crystals. Top with a swirl of the iced cream and sprinkle on a few of the crushed nuts. Refreeze no longer than an hour, then serve directly from the freezer.

Variations:
  • Coffee granita with liqueur crystals
Prepare the basic recipe, omitting the nuts. Mix 6 tablespoons coffee liqueur (not a creamy one) with 6 tablespoons of the nearly frozen granita, then freeze. When ready to serve, scrape the liqueur granita into shavings. Sprinkle the crystals over the granita, which has been topped with whipped cream.
  • Turkish coffee granita
Prepare the basic recipe, using only 1/3 of the sugar, omitting the vanilla, and adding 1/2 cup brandy.
  • Two-tier granita
Prepare the basic recipe, but divide the sweetened coffee into two containers. Add the whipped cream without nuts to one container and whisk in. Add 1 tablespoon orange zest to the other container. Freeze both parts separately. To serve, layer the two parts in a chilled tall glass.
  • Mexican mocha granita
Melt 2 ounces dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and a shot of brandy. Cool. Prepare the basic recipe, omitting the nuts, and pouring some mocha sauce into the base of each glass. At the last moment, drizzle more sauce over the whipped cream.