Ethiopian affogato

ethiopia, italy
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On trips to Ethiopia one of my favourite things by far has been Ethiopian coffee, made in homes and cafes from freshly roasted and ground beans and served quite strong in small cups with sugar, and if you're lucky, a sprig of rue.  Sometimes spices such as clove, cinnamon and cardamom are thrown in with the roasting beans for a delicately spiced version. 

smbunalalibela0001.jpgEspresso drinks are also very popular in cities, especially macchiato (with incredible 'macchiato art' of which any London barista would be envious).  Italian influence in some areas of Ethiopia is also visible in the food and architecture.  

smmacchiatolalibela0001.jpgI put all these things together to come up with this recipe for an Ethiopian themed Secret Kitchen dinner.  Remember to freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance if you have that sort!

Recipe:  Ethiopian affogato.pdf

Serves:  12 small portions, or 6 for greedy people like me

For the ice cream:
375ml whole milk
375ml double cream
150g sugar
a pinch of salt
about 6 green cardamom pods
half a vanilla pod, or ¼ tsp vanilla extract
a lemon
6 large egg yolks

For the coffee:
coffee beans, green or roasted
about 6 cloves
a small piece of cinnamon bark
sugar to taste

  1. Place milk, double cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Crack open the cardamom pods to reveal their black seeds and add them to the pot.  Split open the vanilla, scrape out the seeds and add both pod and seeds to the pot.  Zest about a quarter of the lemon into the pot.  Stir to combine and heat until on the verge of simmering.  Remove from heat, cover and let infuse for about half an hour.  Taste it a few times - it should taste predominantly of cardamom.  If not, add more crushed cardamom pods.
  2. Meanwhile whisk yolks in a big bowl until smooth and paler in colour.  
  3. Pour a little hot milk/cream onto yolks while whisking, then a little more, still whisking.  This is called tempering the eggs.  If you poured it all on in one go, they’d scramble.  Now add the rest of the hot milk/cream and return the whole lot to the saucepan.  Clean the bowl and whisk and get a sieve ready.
  4. Now cook the custard over a low heat, stirring gently and continuously with a spatula, until thickened.  If it comes to the boil, it will curdle.
  5. Pour the cooked custard through the sieve into the cleaned bowl.  This will remove any lumps and all the spices etc.  If still lumpy, whisk briskly, and stir occasionally as it cools.
  6. Once custard has cooled put it in a sealed container in the fridge for several hours, or preferably, overnight.  Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is well frozen.  
  7. Churn the chilled custard in an ice cream maker.  Alternatively, simply freeze it in a shallow tub, stirring it up every now and then to keep it creamy smooth.
  8. Wash and roast the green coffee beans in a dry frying pan until fragrant and nut brown, tossing and stirring frequently.  Throw in the spices for the last minute of roasting.  Or if you're using already roasted beans, toss them about in a hot pan with the spices for a couple of minutes.  
  9. Grind the beans and spices together to a fine consistency and use to make espresso in a machine or moka pot.  Make at least half a litre in total, in batches.
  10. Reheat the espresso very gently in a saucepan and sweeten to taste with sugar.
  11. Serve scoops of ice cream in small glasses with the hot coffee poured over at the last second.

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Culinary Anthropologist