After my daughter returned from her honeymoon in Italy in 2007, she told us about a cocktail that seemingly everyone was drinking as an aperitif in Italy. Five years ago, Aperol was very hard to find in liquor stores here with only one Italian specialty store miles away selling it. Now, Aperol seems to have soared in popularity in the United States and even the New York Times has taken note! The beverage, which is milder in taste than Campari and also contains less alcohol, can be found in well-stocked liquor stores locally now.
Earlier this summer, Sam at My Carolina Kitchen posted a recipe for an Italian granita made with Campari. I knew as soon as I saw her post, that I would eventually try making it with Aperol. I loved the lemon juice in Sam's recipe, which was adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook.
You will want to savor this delightfully refreshing adult dessert on a hot summer evening while we still have them :) It would also make a wonderful palate-cleanser between courses of a formal dinner. If you'd like to try the original Aperol Spritz, please see my post here from last summer.
Even, though this is not really ice cream, is is an 'ice' so this will be my contribution to the Ice Cream Social at Kitchen Bouquet!
3 cups strained fresh orange juice
1 cup Aperol
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
Mint sprigs for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and set over moderate heat. Stir constantly until the mixture until very hot and all the sugar is dissolved but do not allow to boil. Cool to room temperature and then pour into a shallow pan and place in the freezer. Scrape the frozen mixture with a large spoon or spatula once every hour or so to prevent ice crystals from forming. The mixture will take from 3 to 6 hours to freeze. After it is completely frozen, scrap the granita into a container with a cover for longer-lasting storage. It is best eaten within several days.
To serve, garnish with mint sprigs and orange zest, if desired.