Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream -Granita di Espresso con Panna

Espresso Granita If there is anything I can’t stand it is when family, friends or food bloggers go to Paris or Rome (or Prague) and then come back home with tons of  “Paris this” and “Rome that” (or “Prague this and that!”.  They  go on and on relating their experiences with the certainty that we who have not been there cannot possibly relate –but they will tell us, won’t they?

Of course I find this especially annoying when it is also true.

To me it is the culinary equivalent of that time my college room mate sported a slight British accent after having just returned from only a 6 week government class taught at Cambridge .  (Please note that I said “taught at Cambridge” as the class was not an actual Cambridge University offering — it was a distinction he never failed to quite acknowledge.)   Nevertheless, after his return he reminded me of what I did not get to experience with every vowel he uttered.  Literally.

But this post is about food, isn’t it?

“Oh Trevor you have never tasted anything as good as the veal we had that particular night at La Tige D’or!”    

Having never dined at La Tige D’or I suppose  I will just have to take your word for it, won’t I?  (Were you eating the scraps of veal I have been leaving on my plate all these years?  How else would you know?)

“It was the most amaaazing bottle of wine we have ever had and it cost only 2 Euros. Can you believe that?  You just can’t find wine as good as that here in *this country*. I would put that bottle up against anything in Wine Spectator.”

Of course the fact that you were physically picnicking in the hills of Tuscany had nothing to do with your impression of the wine that day, right?    I suspect that I too would have loved a bottle of 2 Euro Chuck should I have been there with you.

And then there is the worst offender:

“We had street-food from the friendliest vendor and that dinner was as good as anything you can get from the finest restaurants here in ‘The States'”.


Sometimes people won’t shut up about their trip for weeks or even months. Years even.

I once went out with someone who six years prior to our relationship had spent 4 months in Australia doing nothing particularly productive other than noticing things that were seemingly different or better than they are in the US.  You know, the beach, the clubs, the attitude.    And here it was six years later and he still felt the need to make it known at least 3 times a day he had lived “outside this country”  by referring to something that isn’t the same here as it is there.

OK. Enough already.

Espresso Granita

Which reminds me that only a few short weeks ago we were in Rome and we had the most fantastic Espresso Granita I had ever had.  I’m sure the surroundings had nothing to do with my opinion of it either.  Just in case you were wondering.

I know you are thinking we must have gone to the famous Cremeria Monteforte on the Via della Rotonda, (preferred by David Lebovitz), but you would be wrong.   No sirree.  I wasn’t even at the Tazza d’Oro on the other side of the Pantheon.   Not far from there, however,  tucked just behind the Piazza Navona (with its gorgeous Bernini fountains) at the Campo de’ Fiori Square we were introduced by our ex-pat friend and our tour guide that day Rick to the Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, an ancient coffee shop and roaster established there in the thirties.

The first thing you notice about the shop it is that unlike the 1930’s coffee roasting houses in The States, this one actually was established in the ’30’s and not  just decorated to look like it.   Take that Coffee Bean!  I knew we were in for a special treat when I saw that the granita at the Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè was so well thought of that  real Romans were lining up at its counters along with the tourists in the middle of one hot-as-blazes Roman summer.

“Trust me when I say that you have never tasted anything as good as this particular granita! You just can’t find espresso granita as good in The States.”  

Perhaps not.  Granita isn’t something you find a lot here in this country anyway unless you make it yourself and you really can’t find it offered next to a Bernini fountain or just a short walk from The Pantheon and that really does seem to make a difference.

It hardly matters anyway as it is so incredibly easy to make at home and the “I made it myself” enthusiasm will certainly counter the “I’m eating this in Italy” factor.   Of all the culinary inspirations I came home with espresso granita is by far the easiest to recreate.

Its perfect for a 105 degree end of summer day and a DVD of  The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone don’t you think?   I did.

(Yes, I plan on being insufferable for quite awhile. Its my turn. Have I told you yet about the pizza?)

Granita di Caffè con Panna

(Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream)

Espresso Granita

Granita di Espresso con Panna (Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream)

Granita di Espresso con Panna (Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream)

This is what you will need:

  • 4 cups brewed espresso (or very strong coffee*.)
  • 2/3 cup minus 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream plus 1 T granulated sugar

This is how you make it:

  1. Carefully pour in hot espresso in a medium saucepan and whisk in granulated sugar until fully dissolved.
  2. Pour into a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and place the dish in freezer. Every 30 minutes scrape the mixture with a large fork to create the granita texture. The crystals will form around the outside of the pan so scrape them off and toward the center. The granita will need approximately four to five hours to completely freeze and get slushy.
  3. Before serving make the whipped cream and lightly sweeten or add vanilla to taste. I think this is best if the whipped cream is not sweetened or flavored very much. .
  4. Spoon granita into small glasses or cups and dollop with a whipped cream in that Roman sort of way that you will just never get to experience.


If you can't brew espresso you can run a very high quality, strong Italian roast coffee through double grounds and it will taste just great. )


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I can suffer your insufferability. Bring on the pizza. GREG

  2. Brag away…as long as it comes with a delicious Italian recipe 🙂

    PS…this looks nothing like cheesy garlicky rice!

  3. Good lord, who has time to open and close their freezer every 30 minutes for 5 hours straight? We have to clean our bathrooms and empty litter boxes. And we travel cross-town not cross-oceanic. You uppity-ups with your suppity-sips. I’ll stick with my canned Folgers and Dream Whip. (and dream of Coney Island). Right after grinding Torrefazione for the Saeco and whipping heavy cream like Julia taught me…. Looks supah!

  4. Yum! I have grand ambitions that the Navy will move my fam to Naples next summer, so I need to keep notes of every place you recommend in Rome. Brag away!

  5. FABULOUS post! I love Italian Granitas! I follow the directions diligently, but I always end up with a flavored ice-cube! (and I lived in Italy for 3 years – I love the stuff)

  6. There is subtle bragging and there is way overboard bragging-I will consider yours as subtle and acceptable. After all, you have yet to deem anything the best in the world!
    Glad you posted this, perfect for the 100 degree heat, sounds quite refreshing. I look forward to the subtle bragging post on the pizza. Have a great weekend!

  7. Ok, my jealousy meter went off the scale when you said you were in Rome.
    But please, go ahead and be insufferable. Since I must live vicariously through other’s adventures, I would be very sad if you held back…

  8. You know this looks ALMOST as good as a lovely little frozen dessert I bought at a quaint and secret shop in Prague from a tiny, hunchbacked old woman … or maybe I’m confusing that with the cake I had at Girbeaud in Budapest, I can’t keep it all straight! You certainly can’t get anything like that here in the States! Remind me to tell you about the time I …..

  9. I loved this blog! You are so right about people who go to another country and then come back to America with all the stories about how everything – particularly food and drink – is so much better there. It IS annoying, though maybe that is jealousy talking from me because I haven’t been out of the country in so long 🙁

    Brag away my friend. It is okay because we know you know you are bragging, and you will do it tongue in cheek, with a wink and nod.

  10. Yum. When are you making it for me?

  11. Wow, something amazing that even I can make!! (Going to Sicily in March. I’m sure I’ll have food stories!!)

  12. OMG – I have tears in my eyes! Too funny. Have I told you that Tim and I are spending two weeks in Italy next spring? You’ll probably want to avoid us at all costs once we get back.

  13. Just came home from a three hour lunch and can barely move my hands to type, I sure could have used an espresso granita to wake me up for the drive home! This is a perfect dessert where ever you can find it but Rome would be nice, I’ll start that diet mañana 😉

  14. Wonderful post, Trevor!

    I can absolutely relate to you since I grew up in Italy (not saying how many years ago, but, yes, I’m still talking about it! LOL!) and people talk to me like I’ve never been there. Condescension in all forms is one of my pet peeves!

    I’m so happy you got to enjoy Rome! It is truly the home of my heart.

    Looking forward to more posts & photos!

  15. Totally enjoyed your post. And I’d love to hear all about Rome and everything you eat and see and do…I doubt I’ll ever get there. Eat some more wonderful things and share them. And post some photos…would love to see it all. I”m still laughing.

  16. LOL, Trevor you had me totally laughing my touristy head off with your intro to the post, and then go ahead and make something you ate in Roma! Actually I hate it when food bloggers repeat the same experiences over and over again in several posts, but the way you’ve done it here is total class. I would so make this granita and pretend that I’m sitting with you at that il caffe in Rome while eating it!

  17. OH how jealous I am of you to eat this in wonderful beautiful Rome!!! It looks wonderful. And, I would love to hear alllll about the pizza 🙂

  18. Hey where are you I am gettin’ hungry?? GREG

  19. Felt like I was back in Rome on a hot summer day . . . the wonderful texture of espresso flavored ice combined with the sweet smooth silky feel of cream . . . ahhh, what a delight!

  20. First, you never told me you were in freaking Rome. Good G0od man, must I find these things out for myself?

    And, yes, I say watch The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. It is one of my very favorite films.

    This is really too grand. I love that we made the same thing. Granita is truly divine, is ti not? And as for San’Eustachio – it is the best ever, no?

    P.S. You could never, no matter how hard you tried, be insufferable. Bravo!

  21. You had grinning from ear to ear. So cleverly done. I’ve had coffee at San’Eustachio many times, but never their granita. That’s on the list for the next trip now.
    And how funny is it that you and Adri both posted coffee granita this week?


  1. […] 7. Make: Pinot Noir Popsicles and Espresso Granita. Pinot Pops for the grown ups and Blackberry Lemonade Pops for the kiddos- so simple and perfectly summer. A freshly made Espresso Granita puts me right in that Piazza in front of the Parthenon- a little Roman Holiday on my Virginia deck. I love this recipe. […]