Much as I like to cook, when it comes to entertaining, I want to be with my company more than my kitchen. I lean on make-ahead dishes, simple starters, and sweets than can be pulled together with ease. Affogato, a classic Italian dessert, meets all of my criteria for effortless entertaining and has become one of my go-to favorites when guests are at the table.
I first had this easy affogato about five years ago at my friend Robin’s house, a woman who has spent her career in the restaurant business. This is a lady who knows what it means to be a gracious host. And even though I don’t have much of a taste for coffee, Robin got me hooked on this espresso-spiked sweet. I’ve been making it ever since.
With just two little ingredients, affogato couldn’t be easier. Take it up a notch and add a cookie to garnish (my best excuse to buy Pirouettes, those flaky, rolled cookies crammed down the center with chocolate).
If you don’t have an espresso maker, you can ask a guest to bring it, pick some up at a coffee shop, or buy instant espresso at the supermarket. That and a container of ice cream is your ticket to making a bang up dessert without having to abandon your company for the kitchen.
This is one of my quickest fixes for a dinner party dessert. You need just two ingredients and an ordinary drinking glass. It’s a hit every time. Scale up the recipe as needed.
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 Tbsp) espresso (use decaf, if desired)
- 1 scoop (about 1/2 cup) vanilla ice cream (gelato is preferred)
- 1 cookie to garnish (such as a Pirouette), optional
Make the espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, pick up it up from your local coffee shop. You can also make instant espresso, which isn’t as good as the real deal, but will do in a pinch.
Put the scoop of ice cream in a small glass. You can chill the glass in advance if you like. Slowly pour the hot espresso over the surface of the ice cream. Garnish with the cookie, if desired.