comscore Rich espresso treat a study in contrasts | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Rich espresso treat a study in contrasts


    Coffee and milk chocolate combine for a custard to pour over plain vanilla ice cream.

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.

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