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Thursday, August 25, 2011 | return to: Return to: Cook Articles, Desserts


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California spin on N.Y. favorite: Italian ices

by faith kramer

Faith Kramer

I didn’t grow up on the sidewalks of New York, but I did spend a lot of time on the boardwalks of its city beaches, and one of my favorite treats from the seaside vendors was an Italian ice, sometimes called a water ice.

These were small scoops of brightly colored and intensely flavored frozen confections served in small, pleated, white paper cups. You would lick or bite the top of the scoop until it was level with the top of the cup, then press in the sides of the cup to push up more of the sweet ice.

The treat is still available throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and comes in a much wider variety of flavors than in my youth. Multiple scoops and flavor combinations are now popular and it’s often served in a disposable bowl with a plastic spoon, which makes eating it neater but nowhere near as much fun.

I also like the ices because they are parve and make a nice dessert offering any time of the year. Plus they can be made a few days ahead and still taste fresh.


Lemon Mint Ice

Serves 6-8

11⁄2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

11⁄2 cups lemon juice (about 8 medium lemons)

juice of 1⁄2 lime


In heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and simmer over medium-high heat until sugar is fully dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in mint. Let sit for half an hour. Strain, discarding mint leaves, and place sugar syrup in refrigerator until cool. Combine with lemon and lime juices, mix well. Place in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve while soft and slushy right from the machine or pack into an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours until hard. Take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving.

To make without an ice cream maker: Place juice and syrup mixture in a 7-by-11 baking pan (preferably metal), cover with plastic wrap or foil. Place level in freezer. After about an hour when the mixture begins to get mushy, stir and break up any ice crystals, return to freezer, and repeat every 30 minutes until the ice is very slushy (about 3-4 hours) and no longer liquid. Serve immediately or freeze as above, taking out of the freezer 20 minutes before serving.


Dark Chocolate Ice

Serves 4-6

11⁄2 cups water

11⁄2 cups sugar

1⁄2 cup cocoa powder

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and simmer over medium-high heat until sugar is fully dissolved, stirring occasionally. Add the cocoa powder and cinnamon and whisk until smooth and dissolved. Remove from heat. Place in refrigerator until cool. Place in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours until it has hardened some more (it will still be on the softer side). Take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving.

Note: Natural cocoa powder has a deeper taste, but the Dutch (alkali-processed) style is fine, too.


Black Cherry Ice

Serves 6-8

11⁄2 cups of water

1 cup sugar

juice of 1⁄2 lime

11⁄2 cups black cherry juice (bottled or fresh)


In heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and simmer over medium-high heat until sugar is fully dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and place sugar syrup in refrigerator until cool. Combine with lime and black cherry juices, mix well. Place in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve while soft and slushy right from the machine or pack into an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours until hard. Take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving.

To make without an ice cream maker: Follow instructions under Lemon Mint Ice.


Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at http://www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

J. does not guarantee that all recipes posted on its Web site will adhere to the highest standards of kashrut. We reserve the right to edit, remove or reject submitted recipes.

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