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Recipe: For your next gathering, set up a dessert affogato bar

In her book, “My Art of Entertaining” (Flammarion, $27.95), author Heloise Brion suggests adding a dessert affogato bar to the menu of an at-home gathering. An affogato, more traditionally known as “affogato al caffe”, is an Italian coffee-based dessert — a scoop of gelato or ice cream topped or “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso.

In Brion’s affogato game plan, guests help themselves from the bar that is set up on a very large tray or side table. For children she suggests swapping out the espresso with melted chocolate.

What to have on the bar? She suggests different varieties of ice cream, such as vanilla, caramel hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate, plus toppings such as assorted nuts, pralines, chocolate chips, spices, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The following version that showcases candied pistachios, the author’s favorite rendition, serves one but can be increased to suit the number of invitees.

Brion’s Affogato

Yield: 1 affogato, plus leftover pistachios


1 1/2 cups shelled roasted pistachios

2 tablespoons sugar

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cardamom

1 shot hot espresso or decaffeinated hot espresso


1. Place pistachios and sugar in a skillet over low heat. Stirring continuously, cook gently until sugar dissolves and pistachios are completely coated. Tip out onto a sheet of parchment paper and cool. When cool, roughly chop.

2. Just before serving, place the scoop of ice cream in heatproof glass or cup and sprinkle with cinnamon and cardamom. Pour the hot espresso over the ice cream. Sprinkle with desired amount of pistachios and serve.

Source: “My Art of Entertaining” by Heloise Brion (Flammarion, $27.95)

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