Granita (flavoured flaked ice crystals) is one of Sicily’s greatest traditions, with almond being perhaps the most famous flavour of all. It’s the perfect cooling snack in the heat of summer and a scoop in the middle of a brioche is a popular breakfast along with a shot of espresso.
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup icing sugar
¼ cup amaretto or 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2¼ cups water
Put the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and process until very finely ground and starting to stick together, scraping down the sides a couple of times. This is the oil from the nuts being released. Add the amaretto and process again to make a thick paste. Pour in the water and blend until the mixture is frothy.
Pour the mixture into a shallow freezer-proof container and place in the freezer until just starting to set around the edges.
Stir the mixture with a fork, breaking up any large chunks and dragging the frozen ice from the sides into the centre. Repeat twice more periodically, until no large pieces of ice remain.
To serve: Spoon into chilled bowls or glasses and serve immediately.
If the granita freezes solid, just scratch the surface with a fork and you will soon have light-as-air granita.