Hello from Minneapolis! I’m in town with King Arthur Flour’s Bake For Good Tour. Yesterday, Susan taught us how to bake yeasted bread and pies (my first pie ever!) in the culinary classrooms at the art institute. The scales and measuring cups reminded me of my college chemistry classes. This time, though, I got to taste our experiments at the end of the day. Needless to say that I paid a lot more attention yesterday.
Today we will be serving a full meal (along with our bread and pie) to families at the Family Service Center. Most of the food that I prepare is only shared over the world wide web, so I’m very much looking forward to serving food in real time this afternoon.
This chai tea affogato would be a really fun dessert to share with your loved ones. The concept came to me a few weeks ago while answering emails at a local coffee shop recently. I ordered a chai tea latte upon arrival and quickly thereafter requested an affogato (because how often do you see affogatos on coffee shop menus?).
Traditional Italian affogato is espresso poured over a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was thunderstruck by the combination of super strong, hot coffee poured over creamy, cold ice cream. It’s as delightful as a hot fudge sundae, but not so decadent that it leaves you with a stomachache.
I went to the trouble of making my favorite honey-sweetened coconut milk ice cream for my affogatos, but I won’t blink twice if you pour strong tea over your favorite vanilla ice cream. Dessert is ready.
- 2 cans (14 ounces each) full fat coconut milk
- ⅔ cup honey
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash fine grain sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons arrowroot starch (see notes)
- 8 spiced chai tea bags
- 2 cups water
- In a Dutch oven or a big, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the coconut milk, honey, water, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat while whisking often. While the mixture warms up, whisk the arrowroot starch with a couple tablespoons of the coconut milk mixture in a small bowl until thoroughly incorporated and no lumps remain.
- Once the coconut milk mixture reaches a gentle simmer, pour the arrowroot mixture into the pot and simmer, whisking constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely and thoroughly chilled.
- Before you start your ice cream maker, place your future ice cream container in the freezer to chill. Use a spoon to scoop off the thickened top layer of ice cream and discard it. Whisk together the chilled mixture in case the honey has separated from the rest. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer it to your chilled container. Freeze for several hours.
- When you're ready for dessert, bring 2 cups water to a boil and pour the water over 8 chai tea bags. Steep for 4 minutes, then remove the bags (squeeze out some of the water they have absorbed). Scoop your ice cream into small bowls, then pour hot tea into the bowls. Serve immediately!
I like Numi's organic chai tea and Trader Joe's chai tea.
Wait, what that?: Arrowroot starch significantly improves the texture of the ice cream (by making it less icy and therefore more creamy) so I strongly recommend using it. Look for arrowroot starch near the cornstarch in the baking section of well-stocked grocery/health food stores (I used Bob's Red Mill brand) or buy it online. Arrowroot is a great thickener in non-dairy sauces and desserts. It's also used in gluten-free baked goods. A lot of people prefer arrowroot over cornstarch because it has more healthful properties and is a less processed ingredient, but you can probably substitute an equal amount of cornstarch for the arrowroot if you'd like. Both arrowroot and cornstarch must be activated by heat, so that is why the instructions call for heating the ice cream mixture to a simmer before adding the starch.