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.
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.
Prep: 15 minutes; cook: 3 minutes; makes: 4 sundaes
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 best-quality milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coffee liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Freeze: Scoop 4 ounces ice cream into each of 4 small glasses. Freeze.
2. Whisk: Drop yolks and water in a bowl and whisk briefly. Keep handy.
3. Melt: Dissolve espresso powder in coffee. In a medium saucepan, heat coffee, cream, chocolate, sugar and salt over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts.
4. 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.)
5. Serve: Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons hot coffee custard over each serving of ice cream. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream. Enjoy.
Whipped cream: Using an electric mixer or a whisk, whip 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to soft peaks.
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