Stracciatella Italian Affogato

Literally espresso and ice cream, Stracciatella Italian Affogato tops a classic gelato flavor with steaming hot espresso and Jameson Coffee Whiskey for the perfect Italian dessert recipe.

ice cream in a tea cup with hot espresso spilling over and a shot glass of whiskey and copper spoons

If the title alone didn’t scare you off, please allow me the chance to explain. Stracciatella Italian Affogato is a scoop of stracciatella gelato (gelato with tiny slivers of chocolate) topped with a shot of espresso.

And did you know that stracciatella is also a soup in Italy? It means “to shred”. Just like the chocolate is shredded in the gelato here; in soup, egg and parmesan make shreds when they’re added to broth, like in my Stracciatella Italian Wedding Soup.

Whew!

Hope that clears some things up. And makes you really, really hungry.

Let’s clear one more thing up.

close up of coffee being poured over a teacup with ice cream and chocolate chunks on a wooden tree piece

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What is an affogato?

In Italian, affogato means “drowned”. Essentially we are drowning the gelato with the espresso —but not really. You’re going to gently pour an espresso shot over gelato.

Btw, did you know you can order affogato at Starbucks? Apparently, it’s on the secret menu. The barista crowns a Frappucino with a shot of espresso. Double trouble!

Making stracciatella gelato

Similar to my Whiskey Blackberry Gelato recipe, this stracciatella gelato is made with a vanilla custard base. You’ll cook up the gelato base on the stove and once it thickens, pour it into your frozen ice cream machine where it’ll process in about a half an hour.

  1. Gently heat the dry ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add some of the whole milk to the dry ingredients.
  3. While that custard is cooking, combine the rest of the milk, cream and the whiskey and vanilla together.
  4. Process in the ice cream maker and during the last few minutes, add shards of dark chocolate.

As the ice cream machine spins, thin chocolatey ribbons are going to form in the gelato. It’s the Italian version of chocolate chip ice cream.

Or is chocolate chip ice cream the American version of stracciatella?

Either way —when you eat this espresso ice cream dessert, those chocolate ribbons are going to melt right in your mouth.

bottle of Jameson's Cold Brew with measuring cups of milk and chocolate

Espresso or coffee?

You might be wondering, “I don’t have an espresso machine! How do I make this affogato recipe without it?”. You’ve always got choices:

  • Run to your local coffee shop and order up as many shots of espresso as you have guests
  • Brew some really strong dark coffee of your own
  • Use instant espresso powder

And now this Italian coffee dessert is going to get a little Irish oomph.

Adult ice cream

Right after you make your espresso, you’re going to add a shot of coffee flavored whiskey. I really love this Cold Brew Whiskey from Jameson’s – it’s so smooth.

I liked the whiskey so much I mixed it in the gelato and the coffee. Not apologizing for that either.

gelato with chocolate chunks in a tea cup with coffee being poured and spilling over to the saucer

Assembling the affogato

This is truly the easiest dessert to assemble and serve.

  1. Place one generous scoop of gelato into a flared (or stemmed) serving dish.
  2. Mix coffee and whiskey together and pour 3 oz. over the gelato.
  3. Serve immediately.

Serving ideas

The key to affogato is serving it in a glass that also doubles as a bowl. There are a couple of reasons for that:

  1. it looks prettier
  2. it’s easier to use a spoon to eat the gelato
  3. you can drink out of the bowl gracefully without spilling.

Variations

If you don’t want to make the stracciatella ice cream, use your favorite gelato flavor that pairs well with coffee (and whiskey).

Some fun combos:

  • Classic Affogato: Vanilla bean gelato + coffee + whiskey
  • Fall for Affogato: Pumpkin gelato + coffee + whiskey and ground pecans
  • Mocha Affogato: Coffee gelato + coffee+ whiskey topped with shaved dark chocolate
  • Pistachio Affogato: Pistachio gelato + coffee and caramel sauce
  • Cookie Affogato: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream + coffee topped with crumbled cookies

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


ice cream in a tea cup with hot espresso spilling over and a shot glass of whiskey and copper spoons.
5 from 1 vote

Stracciatella Italian Affogato

Stracciatella gelato is topped with a blend of cold brew whiskey and espresso for an easy Italian dessert.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Churning:30 minutes
Total Time:50 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • ice cream maker

Ingredients
 

For the Ice Cream

For the coffee blend

  • 6 shots espresso, or 8 oz of hot dark coffee
  • 2 shots cold brew or coffee whiskey, I use Jameson's Cold Brew

Instructions

For the gelato

  • Freeze ice cream bowl according to manufacturer's directions but you shouldn't be able to hear any liquid splashing around inside.
  • In medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk dry ingredients (sugar, cornstarch and salt) together for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 2/3 cup of whole milk. Continuously stirring over medium heat as the contents of the pan thicken ( should take about 5 minutes). Heat for an additional minute at a low boil, stirring the whole time.
  • Meanwhile, in a measuring cup combine the remaining cup of milk, heavy cream, whiskey and vanilla.
  • After the six minutes are up and the base is thickened, turn off the heat and add the remaining milk/whiskey mixture to the pan.
  • Pour contents of pan into a wide, shallow glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until the base reaches 42° temp. This should take about 2 hours. You can also set the bowl over a pan or sink filled with ice if you're in a hurry. But make sure you stir the base before taking the temp of the contents as the center could still be warm. Don't rush this step!
  • Pour chilled base into prepared ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions. My ice cream maker takes approximately 25-30 minutes to thicken.
  • During the last five minutes of processing and with the machine running, slowly pour melted chocolate into ice cream base.
  • Remove the paddle from container and spoon ice cream base into the bottom of long rectangular freezer-safe container (needs a lid).
  • Cover the container and freeze for about 6 hours till firm.
  • Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Assemble the affogato

  • Scoop 1 healthy scoop of gelato into wider-rimmed dessert cups or glasses. To make ahead, place each cup on a baking sheet and place into the freezer until ready to serve.
  • Mix brewed coffee with the whiskey.
  • Pour equal amounts of the coffee and whiskey blend over each serving of gelato.

Notes

Easy version: Use store-bought ice cream instead of making homemade. 
Make ahead: Scoop the made ahead gelato into serving vessels and place on a sheet pan. Put the whole thing in the freezer. Remove right before serving.
Serving ideas: top with chocolate.  Serve with a rolled, wafer cookie or sweet and spicy pecans from Trader Joe’s.
Affogato variations: 
  • Classic Affogato: Vanilla bean gelato + coffee + whiskey
  • Fall for Affogato: Pumpkin gelato + coffee + whiskey and ground pecans
  • Mocha Affogato: Coffee gelato + coffee+ whiskey topped with shaved dark chocolate
  • Pistachio Affogato: Pistachio gelato + coffee and caramel sauce
  • Cookie Affogato: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream + coffee topped with crumbled cookies
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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