If you’re like us, you’ve gotten spoiled by drinking really good coffee from the shop on the corner. You’re probably also brewing better coffee at home than you once did. Some mornings we don’t finish off a pot, so save the extra for this yummy icy dessert. If you like coffee ice cream, you’ll love coffee granita.
Since you’ll need at least three cups of coffee and it may take several days of leftovers to accumulate that much, just pour each day’s coffee into a quart jar and keep it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. (If your storage jar is glass, be sure to let the coffee cool almost to room temperature before adding it to the cold jar to avoid any chance of the jar shattering.) When the jar is almost full, you’ll know it’s time to freeze the brew and recycle it as dessert. If you find you’re making coffee granita often, you can vary the flavors by adding a little ground cinnamon or flavored extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange, or cherry.
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
3 to 4 cups brewed coffee, well chilled
1/3 cup half and half or milk, or to taste
¼ cup sugar, or to taste
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1. Combine the coffee, half-and-half, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. (If you’ve stored the coffee in a jar and there’s room, add the sugar and milk and shake the jar instead.)
2. Pour the mixture into a 6-cup or larger rectangular glass or metal baking pan. (You’ll need enough room to stir the ingredients.) Place the pan, uncovered, in the freezer and freeze until ice crystals begin to form around the edges, 30 to 45 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the freezer and, using a fork, stir to break any chunks into small ice crystals. Return the pan to the freezer for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the pan and stir again, poking any chunks with the fork to break them up completely. Continue freezing, stirring with the fork every 15 minutes, until the granita is completely frozen, 45 minutes to 1 hour longer. The granita should have the texture of shards of glass throughout. (At this point the granita can be transferred to an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 days. If it freezes solid, thaw the granita slightly in the refrigerator and break it up with a fork before serving.)
5. To serve, spoon the granita into ice cream dishes or glasses, such as wine or parfait glasses, topping each serving with whipped cream, if desired.