Happily Ever Afters – Affogato

An affogato (literally meaning “drowned” in Italian) is a coffee-based pudding, usually taking the form of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. Some variations also include a shot of Amaretto or other liqueur. It is a fabulous quick fix if you need a pudding in a hurry because it takes a minute or two to prepare if you have a tub of vanilla ice cream in the freezer! Jamie Oliver, in his “Jamie’s Family Christmas” suggests taking a trip around your fridge and using left-over Christmas pudding, etc., in it too.


The combination of coffee and vanilla and hot and cold truly is a marriage made in heaven. Add crushed Amaretti or nougat, as I do, and you get the contrast of soft, liquid and crunchy too! If you are making this pudding for kids  or the health-conscious, you can use decaffeinated coffee. But whatever coffee you choose to use, do ensure that it is freshly ground or that you grind it yourself. I always make this pudding in a glass, to give maximum dramatic effect!

I am giving you a recipe for vanilla ice cream first. This recipe does not require you to have an ice cream maker, because many of us do not own one. I remember as a student this being an amazing pick-me-up after a night of partying (affogato for me is welcome at any time of day or night) and I certainly didn’t have an ice-cream maker then!

Vanilla Ice Cream


  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 500ml/16fl oz double cream (see tip)
  • 70g/3oz sugar
  • 3 egg yolks


Halve the vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla pods to the cream and bring to the boil, then add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until the mixture is paler in colour then slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl and now whisk in the vanilla seeds. Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze



  • 1 scoop good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1 shot good-quality hot espresso
  • 1-2 amaretti biscuits/pieces of nougat crumbled
  • (a square of dark chocolate / alcohol – optional)


Make the espresso coffee. I usually allow 50ml of espresso per person, which will be enough for a little after-dinner coffee cup. So  make a fresh brew using whichever method you use, allowing at least this per person. Put the ice cream into a dessert glass. Sprinkle over the crushed amaretti or nougat. Drown (the literal meaning of affogato) each scoop of ice cream with coffee and serve while warm and melting. For an added treat, I sometimes melt a square of plain chocolate per person in the hot coffee before pouring over the ice cream. Sometimes, I also add a shot of something alcoholic!



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