Café Affogato

August 16, 2010

Gelato with a shot of espresso - delicious!

When in Italy, if you ask for your ice cream "affogato" you are served a bowl of ice cream with a shot of espresso on top of it. It's not too difficult to imagine why this delectable dish has made it across the Atlantic and how it now has a hundred or more variations. It can be as simple as putting a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a mug and pouring on some freshly brewed, hot coffee. As the ice cream melts, stir it a bit, then drink. Ah!, you'll say. Here's another way to make it that's elegant and company-worthy.

This recipe calls for gelato, the true Italian ice cream that is more dense, more intensely flavored than ice cream and stands up to the shot of heat more effectively. A high-quality, French vanilla bean ice cream is an excellent substitute. You can also experiment with other flavors: coffee, raspberry, and chocolate ice creams or gelatos are fantastic.

This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

2 pints vanilla gelato 
8 ounces or 1 measuring cup, hazelnut or regular coffee, brewed double strength 
2 tablespoons, crushed hazelnuts or crushed almonds.
Optional 1 pot regular coffee, brewed fresh and hot

Brew the double strength coffee. 
Line up four tall, heat-resistant parfait glasses on the kitchen counter. Place two scoops of the vanilla gelato into each one. 
Slowly pour in just enough coffee to coat the scoops, about two ounces in each. 
Garnish with crushed nuts. 
Serve immediately along with dinner cups for the remaining coffee.