Peanut butter and chocolate, or fresh-picked strawberries and whipped cream. Sometimes, the sweetest treats in life are the simplest. Few desserts showcase that better than affogato, an effortless marriage of two of Italy’s finest exports, espresso and gelato.
“The milk protein binds with the tannins of the coffee and so the coffee becomes less bitter, and this rich, toasty pairing transpires,” said Stephanie Reitano, who’s been serving affogato for more than 15 years as owner and chef at Philadelphia’s Capogiro and Capofitto. “It’s an ideal match when it comes to a taste experience.”
Affogato comes from the Italian affogare, “to drown”, a reference to the submerging of cold gelato in a shot or two of hot espresso. In Italy, the term extends to any form of ice cream drowned by another ingredient, whether a chocolate sauce or amarena cherries or hot cocoa.
“We already had sundaes in the US, so here the word is typically just reserved for an affogato café,” Reitano said.
Take note, however, that it’s often seasonal, especially at cafes where ice cream or gelato aren’t a regular offering but sourced specifically for the summery treat.
The classic affogato is made with one small, tightly packed scoop of vanilla, fior di latte, or hazelnut gelato paired with a double shot of espresso. Photo: TNS
Tips for a good affogato
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, whipping up affogatos at home is always an option, and it’s easy.
Classically, it’s made with one small, tightly packed scoop of vanilla, fior di latte, or hazelnut gelato paired with a double shot of espresso.
“The fat content of gelato is very low compared to ice cream. It doesn’t get in the way of tasting all of the milk and sugar flavors, or mask all of those rich notes of the coffee,” Reitano said. “But, honestly, if you invest in a quality ice cream, that will work, too.”
If you do use ice cream, Reitano suggests allowing it to sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s easy to scoop, because ice cream is naturally colder than gelato straight out of the freezer. Don’t pour the espresso directly from your espresso maker – put the double shot in a cup and then add it immediately before serving.
“The timing is everything with affogatos,” Reitano said.
It’s also crucial to chill the serving glass to avoid ending up with a watered-down, milky espresso rather than a dessert to be enjoyed by the spoonful.
The affogato at Rival Bros Coffee Bar features a scoop of Weckerly’s whole milk Sweet Cream ice cream topped with a double espresso for 4. Photo: TNS
No espresso-maker? Substitute espresso with strong coffee. Reitano recommends using a Moka pot to make an espresso substitute, but any dark roast brew will do.
At home, it’s easy to get creative with ice cream flavours and toppings. Nutty options like almond pair well with coffee, and toppings like crushed cookies, whipped cream, and even booze – amaretto, Sambuca, whisky – are common additions. However, Reitano says it’s hard to beat the traditional.
“The simpler you go, the more you can taste the beauty of an affogato,” Reitano said. “It’s not supposed to be this gigantic sweet bomb, like a piece of birthday cake. It’s just supposed to cap off the meal with a small, bittersweet note that ends things in a nice, but not overwhelming, way.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer/Tribune News Service
Along with being the Queen of Soul music, legendary singer Aretha Franklin was also the queen of soul food. After music, food came in a close second among the late singer’s passions.
Franklin died on Aug 16 at the age of 76.
Just a few years ago, the enterprising singer had spoken about plans to launch a food line of comfort foods like pies, chili, gumbo and baked chicken – a direct response to the launch of long-rumoured rival Patti LaBelle’s food line of sweet potato pies which flew off Walmart shelves in 2016. The food line never did get off the ground.
But Franklin did leave a few other food legacies, including her recipe for peach cobbler and glazed ham – rib-sticking comfort foods.
The Food Network has immortalised the recipe, which calls for canned peaches, nutmeg and cinnamon, on its site. Franklin also prepared the cobbler with TV chef Emeril Lagasse.
And with Martha Stewart, the singer swapped out a mic for a kitchen knife, showing the domestic doyenne how to prepare her glazed pineapple ham with scalloped potatoes. – AFP Relaxnews
Anyone familiar with the man considered the greatest gourmet the world has ever known will recognise the name Savarin in this pastry.
The classic French sponge “cake” leavened with yeast was created by Parisian pâtissier Auguste Julien in 1845 in honour of French politician, lawyer and writer on gastronomy Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
In fact, it was first christened the Brillat-Savarin but later shortened to savarin.
By the way, the French pronounce it /sa-VAH-rah/ and the Italians, /sa-VAH-reen/
The savarin is baked in a ring mould, and often soaked with a flavoured syrup. This, arguably, transforms it from a bread to a cake. Serving it with cream and fresh fruit makes it into a pastry that really shines.
The ring mould has a large centre hole and the bottom is rounded instead of flat like the ring pan used for baking cakes. When turned out after baking, the savarin looks like a doughnut or the filled inner tube of a tyre as both the bottom and top are rounded. A treat for the Michelin Man, surely?
- A ring mould with a rounded bottom.
Can’t find a savarin mould or don’t want to use one? A Bundt tin is a good substitute.
If the thought of using yeast and making bread is daunting, there’s no need to worry. The dough is very wet but you don’t knead it or even need heavy-duty equipment. A wooden spoon is more than adequate to mix it.
The savarin recipe featured here is a citrus-flavoured one. It is decorated with candied citrus slices, which is good enough on it own and an alternative to a big dollop of cream and fresh fruit. But feel free to leave off the topping and use another flavour of syrup. However you like it, a savarin makes a nice change from the usual cake.
More recipes with oranges:
Asian-style braised beef with orange
Flourless orange cake
Mandarin orange smoothie
Roast chicken and mandarin orange salad
Candied Citrus Peel
Like a plump inner tube.
180g all-purpose flour
½ tsp fine salt
1 tsp instant yeast
60ml tepid water
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
110g butter, softened
syrup and candied citrus
110g white sugar
2 tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
½ each orange, lemon and lime, cut into 2mm-thick slices
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp grated citrus zest
To make the bread, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and eggs, and stir together until combined. Beat in the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms a smooth, very wet dough. It will look like a thick cake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Grease a 25cm savarin mould or Bundt pan. Scrape the dough into the pan and press with a rubber spatula to even it out. It should come halfway up the pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until the dough is just above the rim, about 1½ hours.
While the savarin is rising, preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake for 35-40 minutes until it is golden and firm to the touch. Remove savarin from pan and leave to cool. No need to wash the pan as you will reuse it.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: Place the water, sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add the citrus slices and cook until they turn soft and translucent and syrup has reduced by about a third and thickened slightly, 5-10 minutes.
Remove citrus slices from the syrup and transfer to a plate to use later.
Pour about one-third cup of syrup into the savarin mould or Bundt pan. Return the savarin to the pan. Spoon the rest of the syrup over the top until the savarin has absorbed all the syrup. Leave for 20-30 minutes, then turn the savarin out onto a serving plate.
For the topping, warm the jam until runny and brush it over the sides and top of the savarin. Arrange the candied citrus slices over the top and brush more jam on top. Sprinkle the zest over the savarin.
Raised with yeast and spongy like a cake.