Chai Tea Affogato
Today’s chai dessert recipe is a twist on an affogato. An affogato is an Italian dessert which has a shot of espresso poured over ice cream or gelato. In this recipe, you'll learn how to make your own chai ice cream and chai tea syrup. Cool down on a hot day but enjoy the spice and warmth of your favorite chai tea -- it’s a win-win situation!
While this recipe uses an ice cream maker, we do have some great other recipes that will teach you how to make ice cream without the machine. Our recipe today is a custard-based ice cream that is smooth and creamy with all the spices of chai that you know and love. Delicious!
In order to get the most flavor out of your chai tea, we'll also create a chai syrup. The syrup pours nicely over your ice cream and is not too watery.
Plum Deluxe has a wonderful range of the best chai tea that you can use for this recipe. My personal favorite is the Rainy Day sweet and spicy tea, a warming blend of Pu-erh tea, cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, ginger, safflower, and sweet cinnamon. I think I’d also love to try making this ice cream with the Stargazer Caramel yerba mate chai tea -- the smoky undertones would be fantastic in this ice cream.
By using your favorite chai blends, you can truly make a unique (and delicious!) dessert. Each chai blend offers a subtly different flavor experience that carries through into your ice cream. Experiment and have some fun when selecting which blend to infuse your ice cream with!
You will notice in this recipe I use a mixture of fresh and ground spices, in addition to loose leaf teas, to infuse the ice cream. While you don’t have to use the additional spices, it does really enhance the flavor in the finished product.
Chai Ice Cream
(makes around 2 cups or 1 pint of ice cream)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon star anise
- 2 teaspoons your favorite chai
- 3/4 cup milk (full fat recommended)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, then whisk or beat using an electric mixer on low until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder, or a rolling pin and a plastic bag), grind up the cardamom pods and star anise.
Place the milk, ground cardamom and star anise, and tea into a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring the milk to boiling point, then remove from stove top and strain out the spices and tea.
Slowly pour over the egg mixture while beating to combine. Return mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly to combine on the stovetop. Ensure you have turned the heat down to avoid the mixture separating. You want the mixture to thicken and form a film over the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and leave to cool (To speed up the cooling process, you can place the bowl in the fridge). When cold, stir in cream and vanilla extract. Cover the mixture with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
After 4 hours, place your mixture into your ice cream maker. Leave the machine churning until ice cream has reached the desired consistency. For this recipe you want it to be solid, like store-bought ice cream, as opposed to soft serve consistency. Place in freezer until ready to be consumed.
(makes around 1 cup of syrup)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
- 1/2 teaspoon star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons black tea
- 1 cup water
- 1 inch ginger root, sliced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
In your mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder, or a rolling pin and a plastic bag), grind up cardamom and star anise. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg and grind it all together.
Place the water in a pot on the stovetop and add the spices to the water. Add in your slices of ginger root and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 mins.
Remove from the heat and add black tea. Steep for 5 minutes, being careful not to go too much longer than this or your syrup will become bitter.
Strain the spices, ginger, and tea out and return to the stove on low to medium heat. Add brown sugar and honey to the mixture and stir until dissolved
Allow mixture to simmer for approximately 30 minutes until reduced. Avoid the temptation to speed up this process or your syrup may burn and become bitter. The syrup consistency should be similar to a shot of espresso: still liquid, not thick like caramel (Though if you wanted to take it that far you certainly could and the flavor would be great still).
Remove from stove and allow syrup to cool before adding to your ice cream. If it is too hot when you add it, you may just melt your ice cream and potentially break the glass you’re serving in.
Once cooled, syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Assembling and Serving Chai Affogato
When served, the chai ice cream affogato looks as good as it tastes! Whether you make this ice cream for yourself to enjoy as a reward after working hard outside in the garden or to serve to guests at your next garden party, this chai dessert is as good as it looks.
Select the glass you want to serve your affogato in. We chose a nice tall glass and a smaller one, and both looked great! Place a scoop of the chai ice cream in the bottom of your glass and press it down with a spoon so that you get a nice layering effect when you add your chai syrup.
Pour in a small amount of your chai syrup, then add another few scoops of chai ice cream. Pour chai syrup over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. You should have a lovely layered effect with the chai flowing around your ice cream. Now all that’s left is to enjoy!
If you’re having people over, you can make this recipe a few days (or even a week) in advance for easy entertaining. Simply store the ice cream in your freezer and chai syrup in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. If you happen to have extra chai ice cream left over (if you can resist eating it all!), simply pop it back in the freezer until the next hot day arrives.
Other Ideas for Chai Desserts
If you’re not sure about the affogato, you could use the chai ice cream in a number of other ways for lovely summer chai desserts. For an alternative, we served it with a spiced banana bread which went really well together. You could also serve the ice cream with summer berries. The possibilities are endless!
To drink, why not give some of these chai cocktails a go? I think they all sound amazing, especially the Frozen Chai Mudslide. Or maybe you could use our basic tea popsicles recipe to whip up some chai pops.
Warmer weather is no reason to avoid your favorite chai. Enjoy spicy flavors and escape the heat with sweet and cooling chai desserts.