a modern twist on affogato, this dirty chai affogato “drowns” a generous scoop of homemade chai ice cream with a shot of hot espresso. homemade chai ice cream, steeped with masala chai spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, & star anise, requires only 20-minutes of active cooking time & is so simple to make ahead. at your next dinner party let your guests “drown” their own affogato with fresh brewed espresso, & you’ll wow them with this simple yet elegant dessert!
can we talk about ice cream real quick?
& how it’s the absolute best?
except for when it’s homemade ice cream infused with masala chai spices & drowned with a shot of espresso, because that’s actually the best?
i’m glad we agree on that…we can still be friends!
affogato is one of my hands-down favorite desserts. in italian, affogato means “to drown”, & as a dessert affogato is a classic treat that is the very essence of italian simplicity: a generous scoop of ice cream or gelato “drowned” in a fresh shot of hot espresso. the sweetness of the cold ice cream is the perfect contrast to the rich & earthy flavors of hot espresso.
i like to think of affogato as the o.g. frappuccino.
because i’m obsessed with all things chai (exhibit a, exhibit b), & since the flavors of coffee & chai pair so beautifully with each other (hence the famous coffee shop solution of a “dirty chai” when you want the warm & spicy flavors of chai but NEED the caffeine jolt of coffee), i gave these dirty chai affogatos a modern twist by infusing my base homemade ice cream recipe with warm masala chai spices. it’s still a beautifully simple treat, but just with a little bolder flavors.
& because it’s so simple, dirty chai affogato makes the best dessert to serve at a dinner party with friends or whenever you have guests over. with just 20-minutes of active cooking time to pull together an easy homemade ice cream, it is beyond easy to make ahead (even a day or two in advance).
so, here’s the thing. i know you’re rolling your eyes at me because homemade ice cream sounds the opposite of easy, but it really, really is. i double pinky swear. if you can boil water, you can make homemade ice cream.
& i’m really not exaggerating. to make any ice cream you simply combine cream, milk, & sugar over low heat & stir frequently until the mixture comes to a low boil. i make this base recipe for homemade ice cream a chai ice cream by adding to the mix few bags of chai tea & punch up the chai flavor with extra chai spices: fresh ginger, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, star anise & whole cloves.
you whisk the warmed cream mixture into egg yolks, allow to cool in the fridge, & churn using your ice cream maker’s directions.
voila, make-ahead chai ice cream.
if you’d like to be even more prepared to serve dirty chai affogato to your guests after dinner, you can also scoop the ice cream into individual dishes or bowls ahead of time & store in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.
when dessert time rolls around, all you have to do is pull your chai ice cream out of the freezer, pull 6 shots of fresh espresso or brew a fresh pot of dark roast coffee (i love using a french press to get deeply rich flavor), & serve.
letting your guests serve themselves is always a fun way to get them involved, so pass the espresso or the french press around the table to let your guests “drown” their own chai affogato.
the chai ice cream has the smoothest, creamiest texture & those masala chai spices punch right through the sweetness, providing the perfect complement to the rich & earthy flavor of the coffee. the hot coffee softens the cool ice cream little by little & the contrast in temperature will keep you & your guests digging in bite after bite after bite after bite…
dirty chai affogato = show stopper. (seriously!)
so, what are you waiting for? get your chai ice cream going & call a few of your favorite people to join you for some dirty chai affogato.
or just don’t call anyone & enjoy all of them by yourself.
no one’s judging here.
- 2 C heavy cream
- 1 C whole milk (half and half would work in a pinch, too!)
- 1/2 C sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 chai tea bags
- 3" fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 vanilla beans, halved & seeded*
- 2 3" sticks of cinnamon*
- 20 whole cloves*
- 5 whole star anise*
- 1 allspice berry*
- 6 large egg yolks
- 6 shots of fresh espresso (or 3 cups of fresh brewed dark roast coffee in a french press)
- ice cream maker
- freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker, if necessary for your model! usually it takes about 24 hours to freeze completely, so be sure to give it enough time.
- in a heavy-bottomed pot, combine cream, milk, sugar, salt, chai tea bags, & spices (ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, allspice) & heat over medium low heat, stirring frequently, allowing the sugar to dissolve & the tea to steep into the cream & milk.
- continue to stir until the mixture reaches a low, continuous boil. the ice cream base should be fragrant, having taken on both the aromas & light brown color of chai tea. remove from heat.
- strain the tea bags & spices out of the cream mixture using a fine-mesh strainer & allow to cool slightly.
- while the cream mixture cools, separate the yolks of 6 large eggs into a bowl that is large enough to hold the cream mixture. (save the egg whites for an omelette tomorrow!)
- whisking vigorously, slowly add the warmed chai cream into the large bowl with the separated egg yolks. add the chai cream little by little at first, allowing the egg yolks to come to temperature with the cream. pour the remaining chai cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisk until incorporated, & store in an airtight container in the fridge until cool (up to 2 hours).
- churn the chai ice cream base according to the directions of your ice cream maker.
- move the ice cream into a freezer-safe container or dish & freeze for at least 2 hours to allow it to set up.
- scoop chai ice cream into 6 small bowls or rocks glasses. this can be done in advance & stored individually in the freezer if you're planning to serve to guests.
- brew 3 cups of coffee or pull 6 shots of espresso.
- pour coffee or espresso over each scoop of ice cream.
- serve & enjoy!
- *if you do not normally stock your spice rack with these spices, you can find them & buy exactly what you need in the bulk spice section of your grocery store, a much more affordable option than investing in whole jars of spices that you aren't inclined to use often.
afraid you’ll miss a recipe or entertaining idea? be sure to follow along with plays well with butter on bloglovin, & for daily foodie musings & tips, follow along with @playswellwithbutter on instagram & facebook!