What is more delicious than a hot, melted scoop of vanilla gelato slowly melting into a thick and rich espresso? Affogato, the ultimate Italian dessert, strikes just the right balance between sweet and bitter flavours. With its simplicity and elegance, affogato is truly the perfect dessert for any occasion.
If you’re looking for a surefire way to impress your guests, or if you simply want to indulge in a sweet treat at the end of the day, how about trying your hand at this Italian dessert? In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to make affogato, how best to prepare it and how you can enjoy this delicious dessert.
The beauty of affogato is that it is incredibly simple to prepare – all you need are a few basic ingredients and a bit of time.
What is Affogato?
Affogato means “drowned” in Italian. This refers to how a scoop of ice cream slowly melts into a warm espresso coffee when prepared properly. The word usually refers specifically to vanilla ice cream or gelato melted into an espresso shot – but there are many variations on this recipe as well!
Originating in Italy, affogato became wildly popular in Australia in the 1990s. Without a doubt, it has quickly become one of the most requested desserts to order at your favourite Italian restaurant Sydney.
How to Make Affogato at Home: The Italian Street Kitchen Recipe!
Making affogato is fairly simple – but how to make affogato perfect each time is a question that many Italian chefs continue to ponder over and improve upon. The answer lies in how you prepare each component of this dessert – from how you choose and brew your coffee beans, to how you make your vanilla gelato or ice cream. Of course, we also need an espresso machine (or Moka pot) as well!
Here’s my guide on how to make affogato at home, with a bit of classic flair and flavour (as I like to say).
What You’ll Need:
- A double shot (or two single shots) of espresso – strong and rich; preferably with an espresso machine or Moka pot.
- A scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream – I prefer to use a high-quality gelato or ice cream for the best results.
- Liquor – for an extra-indulgent affogato. I recommend Opal Nera Sambuca, Amaretto, Frangelico or Kahlua. Deliziosa!
- Sugar (optional – depending on how sweet you like your affogato)
- Chocolate Shavings (optional – for a bit of extra decadence!)
- A bowl or glass to serve your affogato in.
Preparing Your Affogato:
The best way to make affogato starts with brewing your espresso shot to perfection. We’re after a decadent, rich and thick espresso – something that will hold up to the ice cream. If you have an espresso machine at home, use it! If not, don’t worry – a stovetop moka pot or even instant coffee can work just as well. Just be sure to use high quality ingredients for the best possible flavour.
The key to brewing a great espresso is all in the grind size and how you tamp down the coffee. I recommend using a fine grind for this recipe – it’s important that the coffee is ground fresh just before brewing for the best flavour. When tamping down the coffee, make sure to use even pressure and give it a good twist! Don’t forget to clean your espresso machine regularly as well – calcification will affect the taste of your coffee.
Once you have brewed your espresso, I’ll turn your attention to the gelato or ice cream. For the very best results, I like to use premium gelato or ice cream. In Australia, there are many great brands of artisanal gelati that use all-natural ingredients for a rich and creamy taste – such as Gelato Messina.
Up for an extra challenge? How about trying your hand at making homemade vanilla gelato? It’s easier than you might think, I promise! All you need are a few basic ingredients, such as milk and cream, egg yolks (or even a little cornflour), sugar and vanilla extract – plus some ice. It’s all about how you mix the ingredients together – just like tiramisu!
Finally, it’s time to assemble your affogato. Start by placing a scoop (or two, make it generous!) of vanilla gelato or ice cream into a bowl or glass. Gently pour your espresso shot over the gelato, until the ice cream is completely covered.
Top with some dark chocolate shavings or even a little grated coffee bean for that extra touch of Italian flair. Want to make it more special? Simply add a teaspoon of liquor such as Amaretto, Frangelico or Kahlua to complement the coffee flavours – just like they do at your favourite Italian restaurant near me!
If you want to take your how-to-make-affogato game even further, try serving it up as an affogato martini – simply mix coffee liqueur and milk into an espresso shot instead of water, shake well with ice cubes until cold and frothy. Pour this into a martini glass and enjoy!
Isabella’s Tip: You can also use coffee-flavoured ice creams/gelatos such as espresso, café latte or cappuccino, for an extra kick of coffee in your affogato!
Looking for your next decadent Italian dessert fix? Come visit us at the Italian Street Kitchen today! We have six stunning locations across both Sydney and Brisbane, each serving up authentic and delicious Italian cuisine. Our extensive menu offers something for everyone, from classic favourites like pizza and pasta to modern twists on traditional dishes.
Try our how to make affogato guide today and indulge in the best Italian dessert around. Buon appetito