Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Heat Wave" Breakfast

This last Spring I went to Sicily. I was curious to know the differences between the mainland Italy and its island Sicily. I found Sicilians proud of their own history apart from the mainland. I could not wait to partake in Sicilian foods: Cannolis, Pizza and Granita. The Cannolis were absolutely amazing. The ricotta filling was so fresh and light inside the tube of pastry. Each end of the Cannoli is dipped into either chocolate chips or pistachios. In the past I would of never thought of ordering a Cannoli. I am too much of a Chocoholic and would prefer something chocolate related. That has all now changed since I have had a real Cannoli. If a restaurant offers a Cannoli on their menu I order one in hopes to find this Sicilian experience closer to home.

We stayed in Taromina, Sicily at the hotel San Domenico. This hotel was a monastery in the late 1800’s that at the turn of the century turned into a hotel. They offer an amazing buffet breakfast. Granitas aren’t typically offered many places in the states but I knew it was a coffee slushy of sorts. What I didn’t know is it was originally created for Breakfast to escape the 90-degree days that Sicily has for most of the hot summer months.

This beverage has perfected the “heat wave” breakfast. But-it is not just a slushy. It is made of espresso and ice(sometimes cream). The ice has a perfect consistency. Not cubes crushed but more like snowballs of ice that have been mashed that offer a soft cold ice that is slightly chewy and not at all too crunchy. It can be made with coffee or fruit juices. Most of the American recipes I have found include liquor or refer to this drink as a dessert. Remember-it was created for breakfast! Here is a simple recipe:

3 cups hot brewed espresso
*Use only a good, strong dark-roasted espresso for the best flavor
1/3 cup Sugar (Plus 1/2 TB more for the cream)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Put hot coffee in a bowl. Add 1/3 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to a shallow pan and place in the freezer.

Every 30 minutes, using a fork, stir the Granita, scraping it off the bottom and sides of the pan so that it freezes evenly. Continue to freeze and break up ice crystals until it is completely frozen. This will take about 3 hours. When ready to serve, if you would like to add whipped cream, whip the heavy cream and add 1/2 TB. Sugar until thickened. Spoon Granita into chilled glasses and add a dollop of the cream on top. I have also had the cream mixed into the Granita before serving. Experiment and see what you prefer!


p.s. Don’t you love the word “Dollop”???


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