A Thought About Affogato

This article is prompted by a conversation either real or dreamt, I genuinely don’t know, that I had with Rima late one night last week about an Italian dessert. If it was a real conversation then we were in agreement about this, but if it was imagined then this opinion is mine alone:

I’m sorry, but I just don’t really get affogato!

I love coffee and I love a good vanilla ice cream, and I would quite happily sit and drink one while eating the other but I believe they should be separate.

I can only assume that many other people disagree with me because affogato seems to be a staple on Italian restaurant and café menus all over the world so somebody must be ordering it.

If taking two simple ingredients and pouring one over the other qualifies as a recipe, then what follows is the recipe for Affogato. If not, then what follows is just how to pour coffee over ice cream.

Pour what over what?

Yes, you read it right.

Affogato is probably the simplest dessert on the planet (with the possible exception of peeling a bit of fruit). In Italian, the word ‘Affogato’ literally means ‘drowned’, and that is just what it is, either ice cream or gelato drowned in hot espresso.

Optionally you might like to pour a splash of Amaretto, or other alcohol of your choice over the ice cream before drowning it, but that is totally up to you.

How to make affogato

  1. Use whatever kind of coffee maker makes you the most happy, and make yourself a good strong shot of espresso.
  2. Take a nice big scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream (one that actually tastes of, and contains real vanilla), and put it into a nice cold bowl, or coffee cup.
  3. (optional) Pour a splash of Amaretto (or anything you fancy) over the ice cream.
  4. Pour the hot cup of espresso over the top of the ice cream.

That’s all there is to it, now just watch it all start to mingle in a warm swirl of brown and white, and quickly stick a spoon in and apparently enjoy.

Alternative ideas

Although that is the classic affogato, there is no reason why you can’t do something else very similar with different hot liquids. You could try a flavoured coffee, a hot chocolate, or maybe even a flavoured tea. Basically, anything that is robust and has a strong enough flavour of its own to offset the vanilla of the ice cream will work.

Or, and I’m just floating this out there, you could enjoy your ice cream cold and your espresso hot as they were originally intended instead of as one odd puddle of indeterminate temperature.

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