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The Italians know how to take simple, quality ingredients and make them into memorable culinary delights. Take affogato—a sophisticated, classic dessert created by pouring steaming hot espresso over creamy vanilla ice cream. It’s quick and the perfect ending to a meal. I prepare the affogato at the table for each guest using a variety of pretty glasses; the process makes for great conversation. I’ve found that serving affogato seems to encourage guests to relax and linger long after the dishes are cleared.

And of course, you don’t need company as an excuse to indulge. Recently, I took a few hours off and curled up by the fire with a good book and a glass of affogato. Heaven!

The recipe is simple: Pour ¼ to ½ cup of espresso or strong black coffee over two scoops of ice cream. I usually break with tradition and assemble the affogato in reverse, pouring the espresso into the glass first, then adding the ice cream. That way I get to enjoy a few big, cold lumps of ice cream before the whole thing melts into creamy decadence. Remember, use best-quality ingredients. Absolutely no tinned supermarket coffee or imitation or non-fat ice creams.

Happy eating!

Get a printable Affogato recipe.