Butter Pecan Affogato

Butter Pecan Affogato Recipe

My butter pecan ice cream makes a wonderful topping for any dessert and is delicious when paired with steaming hot espresso. The recipe below makes 1 1/2 quarts—roughly double what you’ll need to make six affogatos. But if you’re going to the trouble of making homemade ice cream for your guests, you’ll want some left over for yourself!–Whitney Miller, winner of Masterchef season 1

LC Beware Sneering Italians Note

We’re not quite certain how our respected friends from Italy will feel about this butter pecan ice cream version of their beloved affogato. A classic Italian dessert, affogato takes its name from the word for “drowned” and, fittingly, comprises a shot of freshly brewed espresso dousing a diminutive scoop of gelato, whereas this Southern riff relies on an oversize scoop of ridiculously rich butter pecan ice cream. But based on what we’re hearing from those who’ve tried this adulterated version, who cares what anyone else thinks? Just pass us a spoon, please.

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Butter Pecan Affogato Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, or for a lighter version, whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 shots freshly brewed espresso


  • 1. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the pecans and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
  • 2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and salt.
  • 3. Combine the cream or whole milk and half-and-half in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid starts to simmer, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and, whisking constantly, stir just a few spoonfuls of hot cream into the egg mixture to temper it, which means to warm it slightly so it doesn’t curdle from the heat. Still whisking briskly, gradually beat the warmed eggs into the hot cream in the saucepan. Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes.
  • 4. Remove the pan from the heat. If desired, strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Pour the custard into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled through, 1 to 2 hours. Place in an ice cream maker and freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • 5. Place a scoop of ice cream in each of six small bowls and top each with a shot of steaming hot espresso. Serve immediately.
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