It seems that the recipe of Sicilian granita derives from an Arab drink: the sherbet, a sorbet flavored with rose water and then frozen, a special drink the Sicilians knew during the era of Arab colonization on the island.
The most typical area of the Sicilian granita is Messina but this specialty is prepared throughout the Island, with small differences in taste and consistency. In some areas it is sweeter and creamier, almost like an ice cream, while in others it contains less sugar and the grain is different.
It is strictly consumed at breakfast, but indeed every moment of the day is fine to enjoy this refreshing drink.
Sicilian granita is hard to forget once tasted; It is grainy, light, thirst-quenching but rich in taste, very different from sherbet and ice cream. The Sicilians love to taste it in the morning, as a fresh summer breakfast together with the timeless local brioche with the tuppo. There are many different granita varieties: classic coffee, refined with a topping of whipped cream, greedy pistachio, red mulberries – more difficult to find – lemon, almond and ricotta granitas.
How to make Sicilian coffee granita
To prepare the classic coffee granita at home:
2.5 dl. of coffee,
1/2 liter of water
100gr. of sugar,
1,5 dl. of whipped cream.
In a saucepan bring 1/2 liter of water with sugar to boil and stir until the sugar has completely melted. Prepare a strong coffee, add it to the syrup and let it cool. Pour the mixture into a stainless steel container put in the freezer and turn the mixture every half hour with a whisk. After about 4 hours, remove the container from the freezer half an hour before serving and when the ice starts to melt, with a mixer or an immersion blender, work the granita well, reaching the desired granularity (it must be very soft). Distribute the granita in glass cups and decorate with toppings of whipped cream, accompanying it with the typical Sicilian brioche, which is broken with the fingers and dipped into the granita.