Coffee Granita with Lemon Cream

This dessert reminds Joyce Goldstein of Rome in summer. She would step up to the counter at Tazza d'Oro, near the Pantheon, and order a coffee granita every day. Italians would serve the granita with a dollop of plain or vanilla-flavored whipped cream, but this lemon cream is a take on the American habit of serving lemon peel with espresso. It's a terrible thing to do to good coffee but a lovely way to garnish frozen coffee ice.

Slideshow: Beautiful Desserts

  • Servings: 6
KEY: Spring, Summer, Barbecue/Cookout, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, New Year's Eve, Italian, Mediterranean, Desserts, Ice Cream & Sorbet, Nonalcoholic Drinks, Make Ahead, No-Cook, Staff Favorites, Afternoon Tea

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  • 4 cups brewed espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

How to make this recipe

  1. Combine the espresso with the granulated sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the espresso into a 9-by-13-inch glass or metal baking dish. Freeze until ice crystals begin to form around the edges, about 2 hours. Using a fork, stir the mixture well and return to the freezer. Continue freezing, stirring and scraping every 30 minutes, until the mixture is thoroughly frozen and the crystals are fluffy, about 2 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until firm but not stiff. Fold in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the lemon cream into each of 6 large chilled wineglasses and top with a layer of coffee granita. Continue alternating the layers, ending with a dollop of lemon cream, and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The granita can be frozen for up to 2 days. If it solidifies, thaw it slightly in the refrigerator and break it up with a fork or quickly pulse it in a food processor. The lemon cream can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour.

Contributed By Published August 2000

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