Olga Stinga and her special recipes…
When you are a traveler in Italy you often make friends you stay in touch with for long after your trip ends.
I had the fortune of meeting Olga Stinga when I attended Italian language classes at Sant’
Anna Institute during a 3 month sabbatical in Sorrento, Italy.
Olga has shared the recipes passed on to her from her Aunt Milina and here is another one to enjoy.
Almond Sorbet, Italian style
The most delicate sorbet of them all, and you don’t even need an ice-cream machine!
You can prepare one of the most delicate sorbets in Italy in no time and without an ice-cream machine. This gorgeous almond sorbet is one of Sicily’s most famed dishes but it is famous also in Sorrento!
My Almond Sorbet (the recipe of my aunt)
Granita di mandorle [pronunciation is: grahneetah dee mandawrlay]
200gr almonds, shelled and skinned
1 liter mineral water
Bitter almond extract
– Start by grinding the almonds to a powder. You can use a mortar and pestle like I do or do it in the mixer, but please don’t use ground almonds bought from the store, much of the delicate almond taste will be gone before you even start.
– Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
– Add the ground almonds and leave to rest overnight. You can use a mixer to further grind the almonds in the liquid if you want. The point of the overnight infusion is to draw as much of the almonds’ flavor as possible.
– The next day, taste and add a little sugar or bitter almond extract if needed.
– Some people will not filter their granita but I find the bland almond powder distasteful. I recommend you use a cloth or find sieve to filter them out. – You will end up with almond milk, a whitish liquid reminiscent of cow milk but with a delicious barley water flavor. Amazing for breakfast!
If you have an ice cream machine, just churn it until frozen. Most people don’t have an ice-cream machine and just place the almond milk in the freezer, removing it every 30 minutes or so for a quick mixing with an electric mixer. You could even do it with a fork, the point being to avoid the formation of large water crystals and go for a snow-like consistency.
It is traditionally eaten over brioche, the French butter-and-egg Sunday bread, a testimonial of 19th century French influences over upper-class local cuisine. Although the association of ice cream and pastry seems odd and of the I-love-to-mix-ketchup-with-mustard kind, the combination is a real winner.
I recently served this with brioche for breakfast but I love it decorated with small piecs of white almonds!