This week Toronto had its first official heat wave of the season and I’m positively giddy. Yes, I know heat waves are uncomfortable and their frequency is further evidence that we well and truly effed-up the world, but I love them. As a person who is constantly in search of a large body of water to jump into, I really appreciate this level of heat. You can live in your bikini, pop in the water, get out and wait to get hot again, then rinse and repeat. Also, during a heat wave, it’s perfectly respectable ( I realize we may defer on our idea of respectable) to eat ice cream with every meal. When you really think about it, today’s Salted Vanilla Affogato is just an elaborate plot to put ice cream in your morning coffee. You wouldn’t fight me on that, right? Didn’t think so.
Okay so, technically affogato isn’t an Italian breakfast item. Affogato, the Italian word for “drowned”, is enjoyed as a dessert. Generally, only cafes outside of Italy classify it simply as a beverage. This post-evening-meal classification might have something to do with the affogato’s potential booziness. It is not uncommon for Italians to add a shot of amaretto or sambuca to their affogatos. So, I figure if you leave the booze behind an affogato is a perfectly acceptable eye-opener. Makes sense, right?!
Just because Italians wouldn’t enjoy this Salted Vanilla Affogato for breakfast doesn’t mean you can’t. I do realize this statement might make me the worst person in the world; I’m at least miles away from a nutritionist. But come on, you didn’t come here for health advice, you came here for ice cream. And, of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy this Salted Vanilla Affogato after dinner…it’s just less fun.
I really dig desserts like this because you can make them as simple or as complicated as you care to. If you’re looking to impress a few dinner guests, you can go whole hog and make your own ice cream. But if you find yourself stricken by a simultaneous need for both sugar and caffeine, you can hightail it to your nearest grocery store and pick up a tub of your fave vanilla. Heck! You could even pop up the street for a to-go shot of espresso from your local and make absolutely nothing. This Salted Vanilla Affogato is a choose your own adventure sort of deal. True some of these game plans are low on the adventure. But sometimes you need that, especially on a random Thursday night.
And if the unthinkable happens and you get bored of the classic espresso on vanilla combo, you can totally branch out and fully espresso yourself…Okay, you all knew that was coming. Honestly, if you’re not here for the dad jokes this might not be the blog for you. But I digress. There is no rule anywhere that states an affogato has to be made with vanilla. Well, maybe there is in Italy but we’re not in Italy, are we? Well, I’m not, you might be, in which case you’re fine even with the straight-laced affogato laws. I refuse to feel sorry for you. Again, I digress. What I’m saying is if you’re a butter pecan fan, throw it in there. Dulce de Leche? Hell to the yaasss! Mint chip? Personally, I feel weird about mint and coffee, but yeah, have at ‘er!
When you really think about it, this Salted Vanilla Affogato is more of a template. Choose your ice cream, choose your topping, choose your hot beverage. Rhubarb & Cod doesn’t preach authenticity. This blog wants you to get out there and put weird and wonderful things together in weird and wonderful ways. Here’s a variation off the top of my head: Picture lychee ice cream with candied kumquat doused in hot matcha. It’s essentially the affogato version of this tart. OR how about, strawberry ice cream with Greek yogurt chips drowned in white hot chocolate? That ought to get the ball rolling. Let your mind run wild with the endless possibilities. Okay, no more free ideas; get your own!
So that’s skinny on this Salted Vanilla Affogato. It’s bitter, sweet, and salty all at the same time and it has the texture of a milkshake. A milkshake! You really need to make this. Like, really really. Take it for a test drive then mess with it all summer long. Believe me, you won’t be sorry.
Salted Vanilla Affogato
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 shots of espresso
- 1 0 z of Averno or another Amaro optional
- Pink Himalayan salt for sprinkling
- Place the egg yolks and the sugar in a medium sized bowl and whisk until pale yellow. Set aside.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the caviar and set aside.
- Pour the whole milk into a small saucepan and add the caviar and pod to the pot. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low simmer. Remove the pot from the heat just before boiling.
- Transfer two ladles-full of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and immediately whisk to combine. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan and return it to the heat. Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large non-reactive bowl. Discard the solids and place the bowl in a large ice water bath. Whisk to bring the temperature of the mixture down to room temperature. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to whisk until the mixture is slightly chilled.
- Pour the ice cream into an ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes or until the ice cream resembles soft serve. Spoon the ice cream into a loaf pan and spread to form an even layer using the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and transfer to the freezer. Let freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Brew a shot of espresso and stir in 1/2 oz of your favorite amaro if desired. Place two scoops of ice cream in a glass and sprinkle the ice cream with a little salt. Pour the espresso shot over the ice cream. Repeat until you run out of ice cream, glasses or guests.
- Serve immediately.