Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

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Granita - Water Ice 







Sweet Salami


Rice Pudding




Granita is frozen flavored syrup, sometimes called water ice or sherbet or sorbet.  It is a very cool and refreshing summer treat.  And it makes a wonderfully light dessert at the end of a summer meal.

Some Points

  • You do not need an ice cream maker to make this at home.  

  • Italians often serve it with a spoonful of whipped cream on top.  

  • You can flavor the syrup base with fruit juice or coffee, for example.  The two most common flavors are coffee and lemon.  

  • More exotic granite could be flavored with green tea, mango, or nut flavored liquors, for example. 

  • Variations add ingredients like whipped egg whites or sparkling wines to alter the consistency.

To Make The Granita Syrup

  1. Put into a saucepan 1 and 1/2 cups sugar with 2 cups water.

  2. Heat this on a burner until the sugar dissolves and the water becomes clear.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.

Some Granita Flavor Ideas

  1. Coffee:  add cold coffee to the syrup to taste.  I say 'to taste' because some people like a strong flavor, others weaker; some decaffeinated, so children can eat the granita too.

  2. Lemon:  add lemon juice and grated lemon rind to taste.  Usually you need the juice of about two lemons, but it depends on the size of the lemons, their juiciness, and strength of flavor.

  3. Fruit flavors:  add fruit juice to taste.  You can use freshly squeezed, packaged, mixed flavors...whichever is most convenient.  Let's  not be obsessive about this; let your creativity flow.  Just make a note of what you do so if it comes out great, you can recreate it.

  4. Exotic:  try exotic fruits like passion fruit, mango or papaya; nut flavored liquors; green tea.  Use your imagination.

  5. Alter the texture of the granita by:  folding in whipped egg whites, or by adding some sparkling wine or lemon-lime flavored soda.


  • Pour the mixture into a glass dish and set it in your freezer for 1 to 2 hours.  

  • Some people like to stir it with a fork just after it starts to set, to add air to the mixture, which makes it lighter in consistency.  

  • When it is a semi-solid mush (slush), serve it into dishes.  

  • For my convenience (and yours!), I let it freeze solid, then when I want to serve it, I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  At that point, it is easy to scrape with a fork, and serve.  Anything that's left goes back in the freezer.  When I want to serve it again, back in the microwave for 2 minutes, and it's the right consistency again.

Some Granita Links

  • For some unique varieties of sorbet and granita, all a bit more complicated than the above, click here, to go to the What's Cooking America site.  

  • Delia Smith is the top selling and most popular chef in Britain.  This link is to her website listing of her favorite Italian desserts.  She offers great photos and easy to follow instructions, as well as lots cooking tips.

  • The Food Network offers this Espresso Granita recipe.

  • Disney Online offers this Lemon Granita recipe for children.

  • Monin, Flavors of the World offers these very exotic flavors of granita.

  • And the Press Sicilia have a lot to say about why granite, originally from Sicily, are the best, in Italian.

My Other Summer Sweets Pages