Granita al caffè and almond cantucci
This elegant Italian dessert (coffee granita, almond cantucci and a dollop of crème fraîche) comes straight from the kitchen at Islington’s The Compton Arms
- Serves: 32 persons
- 90g blanched whole almonds
- 300g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 130g caster sugar
- 90g unsalted butter, softened
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- finely grated zest of ½ lemon
- 1tbsp marsala, amaretto or triple sec (optional)
- 80ml freshly brewed coffee (preferably an Italian-style dark roast)
- 30g caster sugar
- 2wide strips of lemon peel and a squeeze of lemon juice
- crème fraîche, to serve
Step 1Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Spread the almonds onto a baking tray and roast for 10 mins. Set aside to cool. Turn down the oven to 150C/130C/gas 2.
Step 2Whisk together the flour, baking powder and ¼ tsp of salt in a small bowl. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon zest until fluffy (if you don’t have a stand mixer use a wooden spoon). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, then the liqueur, if using. Turn down the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients. When the flour is fully incorporated, add the almonds and mix.
Step 3Roll the dough into two 5cm-wide logs and put on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 mins or until risen and golden but not too dark. Put on a wire rack and, when cool enough to handle, slice into 1cm-thick slices using a sharp bread knife. Turn down the oven to 120C/100C/gas ½. Arrange the biscuits on two baking sheets and bake again for 30 mins, turning once. Remove from the oven and cool. They will keep for up to a month in an airtight container.
Step 4Combine the hot coffee with the sugar and lemon peel. Cover and cool, then remove the zest. Add lemon juice to taste – if you want to add more sugar or lemon, do so at this stage. Don’t add too much sugar or it will become a syrup, making it harder to freeze. Pour into a wide, rimmed container and freeze. Use a fork to scrape the mixture every 30 mins until you have soft, fluffy ice crystals.
Step 5Serve the granita in small cups or bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche on top and a couple of cantucci on the side.