Affogato means drowned, and it’s a distressing thing to witness after dinner. Innocent vanilla ice cream, cowering in a cup, is doused with scalding espresso.
The Italian dessert is supposed to serve up contrast: hot and cold, sweet and bitter, vanilla and espresso. But the hot shot melts the cold scoop, yielding lukewarm coffee soup.
I called in rewrite. In this version, the ice cream keeps its cool in a chilled glass. It’s lavished with coffee custard and finished with a swirl of whipped cream.
Maybe the dish veers toward an all-American sundae. But it makes for a very happy ending.
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso, hot or cold, caf or decaf
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped cream (see note)
Freeze: Scoop 1/2 cup ice cream into each of 4 small glasses. Freeze.
Whisk: Drop yolks and water in a bowl and whisk briefly. Keep handy.
Melt: Dissolve espresso powder in coffee. In a medium saucepan, heat coffee, cream, chocolate, sugar and salt over medium, stirring until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts.
Temper: Whisk a little of the coffee mixture into yolks. Whisk yolks back into coffee mixture, and cook over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
Stir in coffee liqueur and vanilla. Strain this custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measuring cup. (Makes about 1 cup coffee custard.)
Serve: Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons hot coffee custard over each serving of ice cream. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream. Enjoy. Makes 4 sundaes.
Note: To make your own whipped cream, using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Nutritional information unavailable.