My favorite dessert when in a hurry for something completely decadent and indulgent: Affogato. Also my favorite dessert when dining out at an Italian Restaurant. And also also my absolute favorite dessert when in Italy.
Are you familiar with Affogato? The word in Italian translates to drowned. Essentially, it is gelato drowned with hot espresso. Have I reeled you in yet? The perfect combination of hot liquid over frozen gelato, softening the gelato to the perfect soft texture and leaving behind a rich espresso sweetened with melted gelato; simply divine.
My love affair with Affogato began in Italy. I was travelling with my favorite fella. We had plans to take the train around Italy for a week and then jump over to Spain for awhile, perhaps take the ferry to Morocco. But we never made it.
We spent the remainder of that trip in Italy. My fella would be fine with eating pizza for every meal, I would be fine stopping at every gelato shop we passed on the long walks through small villages we visited. We made all sorts of excuses for extending our stay in Italy: the trains were always late there, we wouldn’t make our connection to Spain anyway. We hadn’t visited enough museums or there was one more cathedral. There’s always one more catherdral… We had only tasted a few varieties of wine, olive oil, chocolate. There was “that one” sidewalk cafe we missed. But truthfully? It was that we hadn’t spent enough afternoons and evenings enjoying gelato topped with espresso, Affogato.
Most often in Italy, I had what I would call the traditional Affogato: vanilla gelato and steaming hot espresso. Now that we make it at home, we mix it up a bit. It’s not necessarily more fancy, but the flavor combinations are a nice twist. Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
Vanilla gelato, espresso, spiced rum
Mocha gelato, espresso, chopped hazelnuts and chocolate shavings
Chocolate gelato, espresso and bourbon
Vanilla gelato, espresso, amaretto
Butterscotch Bourbon ice cream, espresso, bourbon and chopped pecans
For those of you who are dairy free, the cashew milk-based ice creams from So Delicious make an incredible Affogato. They are already incredibly creamy, making them perfect for this dessert. I like the Cappuccino one used in place of the mocha gelato above.
Alrighty, on to the recipe. Divertiti!