Zuni Coffee Granita Report
TorontoJo requested this granita recipe, so here it is!
I'll paraphrase, but here's the ingredient list:
2 cups espresso (I used cold-brewed coffee concentrate, recipe from previous post: http://www.chezpei.com/2006/06/cold-brewed-coffee.html
)1 cup sugar
a few splashes water
a large flat container
a plastic container with a tight lid
Melt the sugar into the espresso over low heat. Taste. It should taste slightly too sweet, and mine was actually a little too strong to drink on its own. Add a few splashes of water, and put in a large flat bottomed container. The container should be wide enough that the liquid is about an inch deep. Cover and freeze. Also freeze the plastic container so it will be cold when you need it later.
Check the granita every hour after the first two hours. When a thick layer has frozen over but the bottom half is still liquid, take it out and place on a cool surface. The cookbook suggests two pastry cutters chilled in the freezer. I have plastic pastry cutters so I used those, but anythinng big and flat would work (a plastic pancake flipper or even a rice scoop, for example). Break the frozen layer and fold it over so it's soaked into the liquid. Do this two or three times and return to the freezer before it starts to melt. Wait another hour or two until it's solid enough that you can barely break it by digging into it with a metal spoon. Break the granita into chunks varying from large pieces to fine sand. They should be irregular, but aim for pebbles in general. The freezing times can really vary, so check. It took me four hours for a half batch, and the cookbook says a whole batch can take 4 to 8 hours.
After the final chopping, put in the smaller plastic container and freeze until needed. If you leave this in the freezer overnight, sugary liquid might pool at the bottom, leaving ice crystals on top. The cookbook says to invert the container to let the liquid redistribute if this happens.
The granita's texture will vary depending on the sugar:water ratio, and I plan to experiment some more. I would not recommend eating the granita alone, as it is almost unpleasantly strong. Zuni serves this with delicious whipped cream, but I had some vanilla ice cream that needed sprucing up. Needless to say, it was delicious. As the two started melting together, it was like the most intensely flavored coffee ice cream I've ever had.
I made a coffee granita about 3 weeks ago. I scraped it about every 45 minutes with a fork to break it up until no liquid remained and all was frozen and granular. Then transfered to anothrer container. I made it two days ahead. The recipe also required some Kahlua. It was the recipe in May's Bon Appetite. I thought it was a bit too sweet.Maybe omiting the Kahlua would be the right thing to do. This granita was served on top of chocolate natilla (pudding made with condensed milk. Both were good but I agree, the coffee granita should not be a stand alone.