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Let’s hope the rain stays away a bit today for the last Irish stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Otherwise the cyclists in the race might be affogato again – that’s the Italian word for “drowned”.

An affogato also happens to be one of the quickest, simplest and scrummiest desserts imaginable – so simple that I’m almost ashamed to call the following a recipe.

A cup of affogato

An affogato: go on, espresso yourself…

It’s a brilliant combination of two of Italy’s most famous inventions: espresso (coffee) and gelato (ice cream).

Piping hot yet freezing cold; slightly bitter yet so sweet; dark liquid and light little icebergs, melting and merging and swirling together.

Basically it’s just a scoop of ice cream plonked into a cup of black coffee.

The affogato recipe

While you might pre-warm a coffee cup for an espresso, do the opposite for an affogato: pre-chill the cups (you don’t have to but that’s what the professionals do). Then…

  1. Make a pot of strong coffee
  2. Take the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer
  3. Take the chilled cups out of the fridge
  4. Put a scoop or two of ice cream into each cup
  5. Pour a shot of hot coffee over it
  6. Enjoy.

While vanilla ice cream is traditional, you could try other flavours, such as chocolate ice cream. Or add Irish whiskey to the coffee so that the dish is a bit like an Irish coffee. Or top up the whole lot with a splash of liqueur such as Grand Marnier. Or crumble some dark chocolate or lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Then it’ll be time to get back to the telly or the roadside again, to check out how the two remaining Irish lads are doing in the Giro.