Affogato – Vanilla Ice Cream in Espresso and a creamy Fruit Tart
by eat in my kitchen
We live quite a Roman lifestyle when the family meets at my mother’s house. It’s all about food, nice wine and at breakfast time we already start to talk about our plans for dinner. We all love to eat and to cook, so when we meet that’s what it’s about, enjoying life!
Caught in this enthusiasm for culinary pleasures it sometimes happens that we end up with two sweet breaks, three actually but I will leave out the Oeufs à la neige or île flottante which we had after dinner, a beautiful dessert of floating meringue on a warm vanilla sauce. It was amazing but I was too relaxed to get up and get the camera.
In the early afternoon we started with a sweet kick, a genius idea, we just dropped a spoonful of vanilla ice cream into our little cups filled with strong espresso, a wonderful Affogato. This was better than any iced coffee I ever had before, it’s great! It was a warm day, we had spent lots of time in my mother’s garden, she cleaned up her flower beds and then we went for a long walk in the forest. We walked over soft hills and green fields and after all that activity and a heavy dose of fresh air (which is always a shock on our lungs used to the city air) the vanilla ice cream in espresso was the right thing to put us back on our feet. I’m sure I will make this again for a dinner party!
The next spontaneous break involved fresh strawberries and short crust tarts which my mother had bought from her bakery. They were buttery and crumbly, we dolloped some vanilla whipped cream on top and my mother garnished them artfully with halves of strawberries – another break, another espresso and more happy faces!
You can use store bought tartlets or the ones I baked for my rhubarb meringue. If you prefer different fruit toppings, you could also top a few with blueberries or raspberries. Unfortunately, the gooseberries in my mother’s garden weren’t ripe enough yet, they would have turned it into my favourite fruit tart!
Strawberry Cream Tartlets
You will need round 10cm / 4″ tartlet pans.
For 10 tartlets you need
plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 80g / 3 ounces
a pinch of salt
a pinch of vanilla
butter, cold, 160g / 5.5 ounces
organic egg yolks 2
strawberries, cut in half, 40
heavy cream 300g / 10.5 ounces
a pinch of vanilla
sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons
Combine the flour with the salt, vanilla and sugar. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F top / bottom heat. Butter the tartlet pans and dust with flour.
Roll out the dough about 3mm thick between cling film and cut out 10 12cm / 5″ circles. Line your tartlet pans with the pastry and prick with a fork. Blind-bake in the hot oven for 9 minutes or until golden. Take them out, let them cool for a couple minutes before you flip them over and let the tartlets cool off completely.
Whip the heavy cream with a pinch of fresh vanilla and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (or more if you prefer it sweeter) till thick. Dollop a spoonful on each tartlet and top with 8 strawberry halves. Our strawberries were sweet enough but you could also dust them with icing sugar if you prefer it sweeter.