Without a doubt, one of the most refreshing summer desserts of all time is the granita. The Italian treat, made simply with crushed ice, sugar, and fruit, is the perfect way to cool down on a hot afternoon and is so easy to make. We're whipping up the Roman Granita from As the Romans Do: Authentic and Reinvented Recipes from the Eternal City ($22; amazon.com), a new cookbook by Roman native Eleonora Galasso.
“To me, there’s nothing more emblematic of the torrid Roman summer than this ice-cold dessert: it’s only when the grattachecca kiosks open again that I know the time of eternal flirtation and sunburn has arrived,” writes Galasso. “There are two occasions on which I like to consume this granita: when it’s so hot that your internal thermometer is rendered useless, and when spring is in full blossom, allowing you to regain your grasp on the flavors of the warmer seasons, lost during the winter.” Cool down using the recipe below.
1 2/3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved, or other berries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
30 ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut chunks, banana slices, or other fruit pieces, to decorate
Small handful of mint leaves
1. Gently heat the strawberries in a small nonstick skillet for 3 minutes until they have softened and collapsed. Using a potato masher, crush the strawberries into a thick paste. Whisk in the lemon juice and sugar and simmer for a further 3 minutes until everything has reduced down to a syrup. Sieve the syrup into a bowl and transfer to the refrigerator. Let
cool for 1 hour.
2. When ready to serve, take the ice out of the freezer, place it in a large freezer bag, and seal it securely. Using a rolling pin or ice crusher, if you have one, smash the ice to a slushy consistency.
3. Divide the crushed ice between 4 glass dessert dishes or glasses. Pour in the fruit syrup and stir together with a cocktail spoon. Decorate with coconut chunks, banana slices, or fruit chunks of your choice, and finish with a few mint leaves.