Minx-like Italian dessert alert! Black coffee granita is a really easy and elegant pudding that’s perfect for serving at the end of a summery meal as it’s very light and won’t have you busting out of your clothes. It’s like a mega-easy version of a sorbet, or a posh slush puppy in a glass, topped with fluffy whipped cream. With every bite, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself prancing around some fashionable Italian city on a retro moped, wearing elegant tailoring, probably a hat, and smoking furiously while having some kind of passionate argument.
I got the inspiration from Bocca, a great big sexy beast of an Italian cookbook written by Jacob Kennedy who started up the award-winning Bocca di Lupo restaurant in Soho, London. He makes his granita with proper espresso, but since I didn’t have an espresso machine to make his exact version, I used my bog standard cafetiere instead, and the result ain’t half bad. I have a bad history with coffee machines – two have died on me because London tapwater is so full of limescale, they just clog up, gasp and die. I don’t buy bottled mineral water (on principal, too much plastic) and I can’t be arsed with tedious water filter jugs either. So espresso machines never survive in our house for very long, as you’re really only supposed to used filtered water in them. Too much pfaffing!
For this version, I used really good quality decaf ground coffee (Alchemy Coffee) from my local coffeehouse Bambino, as I didn’t want to be pie-eyed at 2am unable to sleep, and the result was still fab. My step-mum-in-law who is a real foodie declared she really couldn’t tell the difference. I must stress that you use only the best quality decaff (or caffeinated) coffee that you can afford, because the granita will only be as good as the stuff you’re brewing up.
Serves 6 – 8 (depending on the size of the glasses you serve it up in)
You will need:
600ml BEST quality coffee, brewed in your cafetiere (or, if you have an espresso machine, the same amount)
200ml cold water
200g Fairtrade caster sugar
300 ml whipping cream to serve
A handful of caster or icing sugar
These are all the ingredients that you’ll need – this is the beauty of the recipe:
First of all, brew up your coffee, then mix it with the sugar and extra water until it dissolves. Then put a clean metal tray (eg a shallow roasting tin) into the top drawer of your freezer. Carefully pour the coffee mixture into the tray. Freeze for 30 mins, then check it. If ice crystals are forming, give the whole lot a good stir. If none have formed, put back for another 15 mins, then check again. Keep checking the mixture every 15 minutes until chunky crystals have formed and it looks like rocky slush puppy. Then you can leave it until needed.
See the slush forming – not quite there yet:
Ready to go!
Five minutes before serving, remove the tray from the freezer so that the mixture can thaw a little bit (this will make it easier to mix around again so that you can serve it, as it might be quite solid). Whip up your cream with a small handful of sugar (to taste) until you have very soft peaks, not quite firm.
Then fill your glass with the granita and add spoonfuls of the cream on top. Serve and enjoy. If you have any leftover granita, it will keep happily frozen in a tub for ages.
LET SUMMER BEGIN!