Living outside of Philadelphia, a city with a rich Italian culture, summers always included sweet and frosty Italian ices. The origin of Italian ice varies depending on whom you ask, but it is most definitely a spin off of Italy’s granita. The difference lies in the texture. Ice crystals in granita are larger and more coarse. The more Americanized Italian ice has finer crystals and typically is a bit sweeter. I personally keep the sweetness on the lower side, with this recipe in particular.
So, when I received a generous gift of the most beautiful cherries on one of the hottest days ever, this recipe came to mind. It’s so easy and really fun to make your own ices. Cherries work wonderfully, but play around with this basic recipe and use some of your favorite fruits. It’s a great way to use up some over-ripe peaches, mangos or berries.
- 3 cups cherries, pitted
- 3 tablespoons honey (or 3 tablespoons pure maple to keep this vegan)
- 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups ice cubes
- Place a metal loaf pan into your freezer. Freeze for at least one hour or overnight.
- Add the cherries to your blender. Process on high speed for about 15 to 20 seconds. Add the honey or maple, the lemon juice and the ice cubes. Blend again on high speed until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the frozen loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove from the freezer. Using an ice-cream scooper, "shave" the ice to create scoops.
If you have a smoothie setting on your blender, that works well to give you the best consistency.
Be sure you've removed all of the pits from your cherries! One missed pit can ruin the whole batch! You may want to halve the cherries after pitting to be sure you got them all (I speak from experience) :(
Adapted from Italian Ice Recipe – The Food Network