Cardamom affogato is a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of homemade cardamom ice cream for a simple elegant Italian dessert.
cardamom affogato is a twist on a Italian coffee based dessert
The word ‘affogato’ means ‘drowned’ in Italian. In this case a creamy homemade cardamom ice cream swooning in a bath of freshly brewed espresso. Difficult to pull off? Not in the least. It’s a scoop, pour, and enjoy kind of thing. The flavors echo the wonderfully aromatic Turkish coffee which is brewed, epic strength, with cardamom pods.
Affogato isn’t a fancy dessert, In fact it looks a little schlumpy, but that’s the point—it doesn’t need any bells and whistles, it’s freaking amazing. What’s nice about this dessert is that it’s not over the top. Don’t be tempted to serve big bowls of it, it should be presented in very small vessels, like little juices glasses, or delicate vintage dessert bowls from the thrift store…all you need is a single scoop of great ice cream and a shot or two of espresso. No whipped cream on top, no cookie stuck on the side…no garnish of any kind needed!
cardamom affogato starts with homemade cardamom ice cream
Turkish coffee is strong brew boiled with cardamom pods for a deep smokey flavor. So while affogato is traditionally made with plain vanilla, I thought it would be nice to ‘drown’ a little cardamom ice cream for a change of pace. It was a good call.
Of all the ice cream recipes on my site, this is definitely one of my favorites. The flavor is uniquely delicious ~ why aren’t spiced ice creams more of a thing? (When I’m not making affogato with my cardamom ice cream, I’ll probably enjoy it drizzled with some of my Hot Fudge Sauce.)
how to make cardamom ice cream
- I infuse that aromatic cardamom into my ice cream by heating the cream and milk with cracked cardamom pods, sugar, and a little espresso powder just to the scalding point, and then let it steep to extract the flavors. Whole spices are fairly easy to find in larger spice aisles these days, and they really do have a fuller flavor than you would get if you just sprinkled ground cardamom in. Be sure you use green cardamom pods, the black ones are too strong.
- Chill the mixture.
- Churn in your ice cream machine until thick.
I always make a point to dip a teaspoon into my ice cream machine as it churns away ~ just to get a little sample ~ because all that heavy cream has a tendency to dull down flavors, and sometimes I need to make adjustments. In this case, that one little spoonful left a lingering cardamom taste in my mouth for a good while afterwards and I knew I had the perfect recipe. Spice and ice cream are a great pairing. I added a touch of instant espresso and an even smaller touch of vanilla extract just to pull it all together. You can also just use plain old vanilla from the freezer aisle, but why would you? Layering the flavors makes affogato even better.
cardamom affogato is the perfect coffee dessert
Such a simple concept but it tickles all the senses with flavor, contrasting temperatures, and the unmistakable aroma of fresh brewed espresso, unsweetened, of course. True affogato requires espresso, not just strong coffee. Did you know that coffee is one of the most complex flavors on earth? It’s even more complex than wine, with hundreds and hundreds of flavor compounds, and they are constantly identifying more. I. Love. Coffee.
This affogato was out of this world, I hope you try it. It’s such an effortless dessert, perfect for entertaining but just as perfect when you get that random craving for a little something extra after dinner 🙂
more desserts for coffee lovers
- Coffee Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
- Espresso Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- Easy Cold Brew Icebox Pie
- Iced Coffee Popsicles
- Homemade Coffee PuddingEasy Tiramisu
- Irish Coffee Cheesecake Bars
for the ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder, or instant espresso
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- a shot or two of freshly brewed espresso for each serving
- Put the milk, cream and sugar together in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Lightly crush the cardamom pods with the back of a spoon until they crack open. Don't lose any of the little black seeds. Add the cardamom pods to the pot, seeds, and all, along with the espresso powder.
- Heat the cream over medium heat JUST until it comes to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the espresso powder. Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Give the mixture a good stir, and then strain through a mesh sieve. Add the vanilla extract, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and process according to the directions. In my basic Cuisinart model it takes about 15- 20 minutes.
- Spread the soft ice cream into a loaf sized pan and freeze for at least 2-3 hours until scoopable
- To serve, put a scoop of ice cream in a small glass or dish, and then top with a freshly brewed shot of espresso. Eat right away!.