Though you may know the dessert drink as affogato, the full name of this delicious concoction is affogato al caffe, which translates literally to “drowned in coffee.” This is a pretty apt name, as the classic recipe for affogato is simply a scoop of ice cream and an espresso shot poured over it.
That simple recipe is pretty easy to make at home, but there are a few different ways to transform your affogato al caffe into art. You can go the classic route and use vanilla gelato instead of ice cream, you can freeze your glass for a frosted look and chilly presentation, or you can even garnish it with a variety of different options. The affogato is the perfect simply impressive dessert for dinner parties and other get-togethers.
Actually, when it comes to presentation, consider buying an affogato glass. The truth is that any short, heavy glass will work, but most companies actually have an affogato glass available. The shape of the glass is what’s important – it’s narrower at the bottom and wider at the top, allowing the ice cream to stop part of the way down and melt into the bottom. This mixes with the espresso and is both delicious and aesthetically pleasing.
This Affogato is Vanilla Ice Cream with an Aeropress “shot” of espresso.
Delicious Garnishes to Consider
- Coffee beans either ground coarsely or finely (as a Turkish grind). This will not only offer a tasty garnish, but also an interesting texture experience.
- Powdered cocoa (for a sweet tooth, use hot cocoa packets).
- Chocolate Shavings. You can do this with a room temperature chocolate bar and a vegetable peeler.
- Cookie crumbs. Biscotti is perfect for this.
- Chocolate syrup is a classic and an old favorite.
- Whipped topping with chocolate syrup creates a classic “ice cream sundae” look that will appeal to those who may not be adventurous enough to try it otherwise.
- Wafer straws or chocolate straws
Crushed nuts or almonds
Variations on the Affogato
Not everyone has an espresso maker, but it’s possible to actually use regular coffee if the coffee is made double or triple strong. This allows for the same flavor as the espresso. In addition, you can replace vanilla ice cream with chocolate ice cream, or even add sponge cake to the bottom.
For more adult variations, consider sweet chocolate and coffee-based liqueurs. Chocolate is good, as well as Amoretto or Kahlua.
You honestly have about a minute and a half to enjoy affogato al caffe. The contrast of the dish is what matters – the cold of the ice cream versus the hot of the espresso, and the sweet of the ice cream versus the bitter of the espresso.
Affogato al caffe is a dessert that is very common in Italy, but outside of the country, is usually categorized as a beverage. Considering how fast it melts, you may want to provide guests with both spoon and straw.
Making Lattes Without an Espresso Machine – If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still make affogatos. See this article for ideas.
Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe – How to make coffee ice cream at home.