Homemade Almond Granita | The REAL Italian Ice Recipe
It's hard to describe granita to someone who has never tried it. Inevitably, the description ends up making the Sicilian dessert sound like flavored ice—a glorified snow cone. In reality, it's unbelievable creamy and flavorful, with a smooth texture that rivals gelato.
An ice cream machine will make the process much simpler, but it's also quite easy to make without an appliance. If you're in the market for an affordable machine, we've had good success with this model from Cuisinart.
Granita has a very short shelf life. You can keep it in the freezer but it will inevitably freeze solid. While you can thaw it in the fridge to revive it somewhat, we recommend making it as fresh as possible in order to have the best experience.
This recipe is pretty easy, but if you're looking for an even simpler granita check out our lemon flavored recipe!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
1 2/3 cup (200g) whole, unpeeled almonds
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. bitter almond extract (or substitute regular almond extract)
A nut milk bag (very fine cheesecloth can work as well)
Ice cream machine (optional)
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add the almonds and cook for 90 seconds. Drain the nuts, let them cool to the touch, then peel them. The skins will easily pop off when squeezed between your finger and thumb.
You will be tempted to buy peeled almonds and skip the above step. Don't! Unpeeled almonds will always retain much more flavor and it's worth it to peel them yourself.
Place the almonds into a blender, along with 2 1/8 cups (500ml) of water. Blend into a puree and let the mixture sit for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, strain the liquid into a small pot using a nut milk bag, squeezing all of the fresh almond milk out. Discard the almond "pulp" and add the sugar into the pot. Heat over medium/low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Set a timer for 4 minutes and stir the almond milk if it starts to boil over.
After the mix has boiled for 4 minutes, pour it back into the blender (clean, of course) and blend it one more time. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
If using an ice cream machine, pour the room temperature mixture into the machine and let it run for 20-30 minutes, or until it has solidified into a thick, creamy texture.
If you don't have a machine, pour the room temperature mixture into a shallow tupperware or glass container. Cover and place in the fridge until the top starts to develop ice crystals and freeze (about 60-90 minutes). Remove from the freezer and break up all the ice by stirring the granita with a fork. Place back in the freezer and repeat this process 3-4 times, or until the granita has a smooth, consistent texture. Keep in mind that the time it will take for ice to form will diminish as you go.
Serve granita fresh for best results, or store in the freezer for 1-2 days and thaw in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes before serving. Buon appetito!