Aperitivo time – and the omnipresent spritz – is the Veneto's gift to the world. You can make a great spritz with Aperol (the lurid orange one) or Campari, or perhaps best with Select. And every spritz has its corresponding granita – just use the recipe below and substitute the aperitivo of your choosing.
Makes about 1 litre/serves 5-8
- 500ml Prosecco (or dry white wine)
- 300ml Aperol
- 200ml water
- 100g caster sugar
In a bowl, stir all the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a wide dish and put it in the freezer. Once it starts to freeze at the edges, every 10-15 minutes stir it with a fork or whisk it, until the mixture is almost completely frozen and icy (this will take a long time – perhaps four hours). It is ready to serve in this slightly wet, slushy state.
To keep it longer, let it freeze solid, then before serving take it out to thaw for 20 minutes or so, breaking it up with a fork. (Chill your serving glasses for at least 20 minutes in the freezer before you serve.)
- Substitute Campari or Aperitivo Select for the Aperol.
- Substitute white port, red ruby port or medium sherry for the Aperol and then also replace the Prosecco with tonic water.
- Replace both the Aperol and Prosecco with sparkling Moscato d'Asti.
Blood orange sorbet
My mum reared me on blood oranges – at least, they were a staple to get us through the darkest months. She'd come home with bags of them, and we'd gorge. Every morning I'd wake up to the scent of fresh blood oranges being squeezed for our breakfast juice, and every week or two, in the all-too-short season, we'd have a dessert of blood oranges with crunchy caramel.
Now the tables have turned: I bring whole cases of blood oranges to my mum as soon as the season starts, and we dissect them for quality as the Sicilian season progresses and they get redder and redder, and better and better.
Use blood oranges that are the tastiest, most intense (intensely aromatic, sweet and sour all at the same time) you can find – and to make the sorbet worthwhile, juice the oranges yourself just before you begin.
Makes about 1 litre/15 scoops
For the sorbet syrup
- 125g granulated or caster sugar -Stabiliser: 1 level tsp locust bean gum powder; or 2tbs starch (arrowroot or cornflour)
- 225ml water
- 50g glucose (aka dextrose) syrup or powder, or light runny honey
For the blood orange gelato
- 600ml blood orange juice (about 1.5kg oranges, depending on juiciness)
To make the sorbet syrup, in a small bowl, stir the sugar and stabiliser powder together thoroughly.
Put the water and the glucose or runny honey in a saucepan. Heat gently to bring just to the boil.
Pour the contents of the bowl into the saucepan in a steady stream, stirring all the while with a whisk. Bring back to just boiling, then remove from the heat.
Leave the syrup to cool until tepid before using. (It will keep for up to a week in the fridge.)
To make the blood orange gelato, blend together the blood orange juice and sorbet syrup. Transfer the mixture to your ice-cream machine and churn until fully firm.
Before serving, put the blood orange gelato in the freezer for half an hour or so to firm up. If it has been stored in the freezer longer and is too firm, allow it to soften in the fridge until scoopable.
Photography by Steve Joyce
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