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Sicilian Coconut Granita to Beat the Summer Heat

Appetito's "Dolce Queen" Ale Gambini shares the recipe for coconut granita, a semi-frozen Sicilian dessert that's perfect for cooling down or as a quick pick-me-up.

9:00 AM EDT on June 13, 2023

Granita is a semi-frozen dessert originating from the beautiful Italian island of Sicily. This traditional Italian dessert is typically made using water, sugar, and fruit juices. Other ingredients, including almonds, pistachios, coffee, cocoa, coconut, and jasmine, can also be used. Sicilian granita is traditionally served in a clear glass and accompanied by brioche col tuppo, which is an oval-shaped bread with a hemispherical ball on top.

The granita has its roots in the sherbet, which was an iced drink flavored with fruit juice or rose water, introduced to the island by the Arabs during their rule. The Sicilians adapted the recipe by collecting snow from Mount Etna and other mountains in nivieri, stone buildings erected over natural or artificial caves, and using the collected ice covered with fruit syrups or flowers as a refreshing treat during the summer. The Nivarata festival, which began in 2012 in the city of Acireale, celebrates the tradition of the Sicilian Granita and is named after the Nivaroli, who were responsible for collecting the snow. 

Coconut Granita

Coconut Granita

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Ale Gambini


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 cup 1 caster sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 spring water

  • 2 cups 2 coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons 2 rose water

  • Chopped pistachios, for garnish


  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the caster sugar and spring water.
  • Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the sugar and water mixture to cool completely.
  • Transfer the mixture into a pitcher.
  • Add the coconut milk and rose water to the pitcher and stir well until all ingredients are fully combined.
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn for approximately 20 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Serve the granita right away sprinkled with chopped pistachios on top.

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Buon appetito and enjoy this delicious granita!

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