I grew up eating a bastard version of affogato, the Italian dessert that cleverly melds gelato and espresso. At night, I'd pour the leftover coffee from my parent's drip coffee maker over my ice cream. I liked the coffee-flavored ice shell that formed on the ice cream and the puddle of coffee milk in the bottom of the bowl. This caffeinated treat may also explain why, as a child, I was often up with my father watching ice hockey on TV late into the night.
Proper affogato has much more going for it. The mix of hot and cold, the bitter and sweet, and, of course, the fluffy cream cap that pools beneath the gelato.
This is the dessert that you want in your back pocket, ready for guests at a moment's notice. Keep a good stock of ice cream (a good life rule, generally), and I'm sure you have espresso or strong coffee around. If not, let's not discuss it. And spoons. Yes, you'll need spoons! —Amanda Hesser
pint vanilla gelato or ice cream (the good stuff!)
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.