Chocolate and hazelnut (gianduia) granita
(Amended 2011-06-19 with an improved hazelnut processing method)
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup glucose (why glucose?) or sucrose (table sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 ounces 70% chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
(Basic proportions based on recipe from here)
Gianduia is chocolate with about 30% hazelnut paste, originally devised as a cheaper alternative to pure chocolate as Napoleon restricted British imports. Today, its most popular incarnation worldwide is Nutella, but in Italy it is still the gianduiotto, a chocolate perfected around 1865 (Italian Wikipedia).
I had gianduia granita at Stefino’s in Bologna, as one of their never-to-be-repeated experiments (they call them meteroites). This is my attempt at reproducing it.
Put the hazelnuts in a blender with 2 cups water and blend until the hazelnuts have been crushed to almost a powder.
Heat up 1 cup water in a pan and add the glucose, sucrose, and salt. When the sugar has dissolved, add the chocolate powder, straining it to avoid clumping. Add then the chopped chocolate (you can melt it carefully in the microwave if you don’t feel like chopping) and stir until it is dissolved. Add to the hazelnut mix and put in your ice cream maker. If you have time, let cool first.
You can make this with walnuts, too. Just don’t toast them. The resulting granita has a subtler, mildly astringent flavor.