Holy Expletive! [Bourbon-Soaked Mandarin & Vanilla Affogato]

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Today is a quickie that I couldn’t resist sharing as immediately and urgently as possible. As I sat and sipped it a few evenings ago, spoon screeching against the side of the cup as I struggled to get every last bite into my waiting gob,  I realized that this is exactly the type of dessert I could get down with on the regular. Simple, sweet with a bitter counterpart and something sour to break through the richness, and combines your after dinner coffee AND dessert into one. I’m all about efficiency, you know. 

This recipe evolved from thinking “Vanilla….bourbon… mandarin… that works, right?!” and holy [expletive], does it EVER work! Especially when the sweetness and tang of the bourbon soaked mandarins is sodden with rich, bitter espresso. It’s got balance for days and the oaky, caramel-flavours of bourbon soaked into the mandarins is something I’m anxious to play with some more.  

Affogato, which translates to “drowned” in Italian, is traditionally made by placing a scoop of vanilla gelato in a cup, and drowning it in a shot of hot espresso. Often you’ll find a shot of amaretto in there, too. This version is slightly more complex, but simple as anything. It’s important you use good ingredients; the best vanilla bean ice cream (I used Pascale’s All Natural), an espresso and bourbon you would drink on their own, and ripe, firm mandarins (with as much of the pith removed as possible - in my opinion, that stuff ruins the smooth texture despite all the health benefits). 

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Bourbon-Soaked Mandarin & Vanilla Affogato
serves 2

1 mandarin, peeled and portioned
1 oz bourbon
4 scoops French Vanilla ice cream
2 shots espresso

In a shallow bowl, mix the portioned mandarin slices and bourbon and let sit, tossing every few minutes, for 30 minutes. 

Place 2 scoops of ice cream in two cups or serving dishes. Scatter the soaked mandarin slices around the ice cream and pour a hot shot of espresso into each cup. Now sit back, grab your favourite spoon and DIG IN. 

It’s that simple! Enjoy! 

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