Granita di Caffe

Granita di Caffe | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog
I spent several summers in my almost 20’s frequenting Java Jack’s in South Minneapolis. It was a late-night, chain-smoking, Soundgarden-cranking coffee hangout, an odd choice for an early-morning, non-smoking, Sarah McLachlan-loving woman. But my sister and I drove there every single night after we closed down the shopping mall coffee shop we worked at, and spent our evenings out on the patio slurping down granitas with the regulars. They weren’t real granitas, of course, just some sugary coffee spinning around all day in a worn-out slushy machine, but I drank more of them then I could ever count, and enjoyed every single drop.

So when I got a copy of Tasting Rome  in the mail (Katie Parla and Kristina Gill’s beautiful new book that focuses on both traditional and contemporary recipes from their lives in Rome) and flipped open to find a recipe for a real granita, I got to work right away making it. Strong, cold coffee, a bit of sugar, and whipped cream piled to the sky is a bit more sophisticated than the concoction I drank on those hot summer nights years ago. Both have their place, but I’m looking forward to warm afternoons on the back porch, not a whiff of cigarette smoke, and Ella Fitzgerald scatting quietly while I sip my icy drink.

Granita di Caffe | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

‘While crafting this book, we sought inspiration in peripheral, graffiti-clad neighborhoods, patrician districts, archeological parks, neighborhood bakeries, artisanal gelato shops, dimly lit cocktail bars, chaotic markets, and innovative restaurants. The result of our explorations is this collection of recipes that embraces Roman flavors and goes beyond the tight focus on tradition to acknowledge that the city’s cuisine has evolved and that strict tradition, while predominant, certainly isn’t the only reality.’ – From Tasting Rome

GIVEAWAY: Clarkson Potter is giving away a 3 copies of Tasting Rome. Each winner will also receive a set of three 8×10 prints from the book, an 18×24-inch hand drawn map of the center of Rome by Lena Corwin and a set of exclusive recipes which aren’t in the book. To enter, please leave a comment below, with your name and email address. (If you want to tell me what music you’re loving lately that would be lovely! But not necessary.) Giveaway open worldwide, and entries will close on Sunday, April 10. The winners will be chosen at random.

Granita di Caffe | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Granita di Caffe

From Tasting Rome, by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

For the granita
2 cups freshly brewed coffee, warm
5 tablespoons sugar

For the whipped cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Pernod (Frangelico tastes good here, too)

Make the granita: Combine the coffee and sugar in a medium bowl and allow to cool, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes, until crystals begin to form. Scrape the crystals with a fork to break them up. Repeat this process every 15 minutes until the whole baking sheet has become fluffy ice, six to eight times.

Meanwhile, make the whipped cream: In a medium bowl, whip the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and Pernod, and continue to whip until soft peaks form.

Serve the granita in a juice or parfait glass, layering it with the whipped cream.


Disclosure: Clarkson Potter sent me this book to review, but (as always) all opinions are my own.

  • Reply
    Monday, April 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Layla Litton
    [email protected]
    loving Florence & the Machine lately :))

  • Reply
    Kelley G
    Monday, April 11, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    What a great blog and a wonderful giveaway!
    I’m boring, I usually listen to my local NPR station.

  • Reply
    Laura Coulson
    Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Just happened on your blog through a link on Bloglovin’ and am so happy to find you! Today’s post is beautiful and since I consider coffee to be the nectar of the Gods, perfect timing on my part. I’d love to win the Tasting Rome book and pictures, and share these with a good friend who teaches Latin as if it were still spoken here in Baltimore. Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    P.S. oh no, it looks like I didn’t consider the time difference lying between where you and I live (in Switzerland it’s currently still the 10th April…) – I really hope it’s still possible for me to be part of maybe being chosen for the giveaway :S (?)

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    “A Long Way” – Josh Garrels =>

  • Reply
    Abigail Gray
    Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    The cookbook looks fantastic! I went to Rome when I was 8, and haven’t been back yet, but the vivid memory of all the amazing food hasn’t left!! I’ve been loving Lee Fields and the Expressionists, especially the song Magnolia (both the instrumental version and the original) 🙂

  • Reply
    Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    All I can think about when reading this is sipping a cappuccino outside a little cafe in Rome and watching people go about their day. I remember, before leaving to go there for a week, all my friends were telling me about the food in Rome and how amazing it would be, but I’d never been much of a foodie so I didn’t pay much attention to those comments. But when I tasted one bite of the fresh, homemade spaghetti alle vongole, I was a goner! Rome has such a different tone to it then many other cities in Europe; it’s so refreshing, and I fell in love with the charming city and all the delicious food when I visited a couple years ago! Thanks for bringing back so many memories. It is so difficult to capture the beauty and complexity of such a deeply historic city. Beautiful post, and sounds like a beautiful book as well!

    P.S. I’ve found myself listening to a lot of City and Colour lately; you should check it out!

  • Reply
    Friday, April 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    You had me at the squash blossom dish on the cover. We stayed in Rome for two weeks many moons ago and made the rounds to every cafe and restaurant we could. I’d love to cook from this book. UmUmmGood.

  • Reply
    Friday, April 8, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I love your blog. I recently found my late sister-in-law’s cardamom pound cake recipe here. Now I know it was yours. Thank you.
    How about some Miles Davis and one of these lovely granitas?

  • Reply
    Friday, April 8, 2016 at 3:59 am

    This looks like a wonderful book! Lately I’ve been listening to the Bosnian musician Bozo Vreco.

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I am always here for Enter the Haggis, OK Go, and The Mountain Goats. Lately, lots of Gershwin, too 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Ray Charles never fails.

  • Reply
    Chris Rocco
    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    If you find yourself in Sicily, the granita in Catania rivals the gelato. It’s not icy, it’s creamy, and it’s served with a hot brioche. Amazing, like most things Italian. : )

  • Reply
    Karin S
    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I love 21 pilots

    • Reply
      Karin S
      Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      karins5050 at gmail dot com

  • Reply
    Jennna M
    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I´m in love with Of monster and me n 🙂

  • Reply
    K. Marie
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    This recipe reminds me of our 25th anniversary trip to Italy two years ago! We purposely lost ourselves in each city seeking out the neighborhood restaurants. Oh to go back. My favorite music these days is the gentle chimes out my bedroom window as Spring blows in!

  • Reply
    Melanie huttner
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    These all look amazing!!!!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Sheri Westbrook
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I’ve been listening to a light mix rock radio station where they play a lot of Prince. I’ve really come to appreciate his music.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Simple ingredients make such yummy. Love it. Great photography!

  • Reply
    Ileana Valentine
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Those are seriously beautiful granitas! Lately, it’s a lot of Carly Rae’s Emotion album. It’s good!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I’d love to have this book! 🙂
    Thanks for the blog!!!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Stunning, stunning photos, Sarah. J’adore. <3

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I would love to win this! I fell in love with Rome on my first trip there 10 years ago, and especially love the coffee culture in Rome & all of Italy. Lately, I have been listening to The James Hunter Six!


  • Reply
    Sharon B
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Rome is one of my favorite places!!! Spend a month there a few years ago….next time it will be longer!!! Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Would love the cookbook! I listen to oldies, classic rock.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Looks like a lovely book! I’m listening to Lucius lately

  • Reply
    Alper Mitrani
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:20 am

    I’ve been listening to Low Roar lately. Try while cooking 😉

  • Reply
    Ava Chambers
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I have been traveling around France recently to visit family and see Paris, so naturally Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, and Brigitte Bardot have been on repeat !!

  • Reply
    Amanda Hollingworth
    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Spring is truly on it’s way here in the South of France, I’m looking forward to whipping up some of that spun cloud granita, might just have to do a road trip to Rome this summer..listening to the Beautiful Girls and Jack Johnson..I hope I win 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    That looks real good! Yum!

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