L’affogato al caffè, a dessert of gelato drowned in espresso, is “one of Italy’s most delectable modern dishes,” writes Anna Del Conte in her “Gastronomy of Italy.” The ice cream can be fior di latte, vanilla or chocolate, or whatever you like. Dulce de leche, with its caramelized milkiness, would be wonderful, as would cherry amaretto. The magic of affogato is that you get two pleasures in one: a spoonable dessert sauced with coffee, and a cream-blushed drink to chase it. The sweet ice cream and bitter coffee should enhance, not overtake each other. Like the best partners, they should meet in the middle.
- Serves: 1 person
- 1double shot (2 ounces) hot espresso
- 1to 2 scoops (about 1/2 cup) very cold vanilla gelato or ice cream (see Tip)
- Amaretto (optional)
Step 1Make the espresso first so it can sit while you scoop the gelato. If you don’t have a moka pot or an espresso machine, run to the nearest coffee shop.
Step 2Add the very cold gelato to a small shallow bowl or glass that’s been chilled in the freezer until frosty and cold to the touch.
Step 3Slowly pour the hot espresso in a thin stream directly over the gelato, draping the entire surface of the scoop with an even layer of coffee. You can add a splash of amaretto here if you’d like (the almond flavor would be welcome), but the best affogato is a simple affogato. Just be sure to start eating it before the gelato completely melts: In each bite, you want solid spoonfuls of the gelato thinly draped in coffee.