Pumpkin Salted Caramel Affogato

Since my heart issues last winter, I have dramatically cut back on the amount of coffee I drink. I’ve had to; too much caffeine, either in volume or concentration – like two shots of espresso in a Starbucks grande latte – constricts my chest and gives me a general feeling of discomfort.

It’s something I’ve discussed with my cardiologist and I’ve been told to continue to modify behaviors (like cutting down on caffeine) to improve how I feel. So these days, I’m down to no more than 1 cup per day and if it’s an espresso-based drink, like a latte, I drink it very slowly.

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Affogato

It’s been really hard, especially now that the weather is cool and all I want to do in the mornings is wrap my hands around a giant mug of hot coffee. So, what this all has to do with the pumpkin salted caramel affogato that I’m talking about today is that I have since designated espresso as treat.

And this treat is a doozy! If you’re not familiar with affogato, let me explain: it’s steamy espresso poured over ice cream or gelato.


Pumpkin Salted Caramel Affogato

If it sounds strange let me assure you: it’s absolutely magical. I made some pumpkin spice ice cream recently intended for an entirely different dessert (stay tuned) and ended up using some of it, along with – oh HECK YES – a heavy spoonful of salted caramel sauce for this affogato.

You guys, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried this combination! I liken it to a salted caramel pumpkin spice latte since all the flavors meld together just right with the hot espresso. It’s completely heavenly!

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Affogato

And yes, the hot espresso does eventually melt the ice cream but what you’re left with is a rich glass of creamy pumpkin salted caramel espresso. Since any ice cream flavor will work here – and of course, store-bought ice cream works just perfectly too – it’s an ideal dessert to serve to coffee-loving guests after any kind of dinner.

Pumpkin Salted Caramel AffogatoNobody will EVER turn down ice cream and certainly not when it’s involved with this dessert.

  • Prep Time: 12hrs (mostly inactive)
  • Cook Time: 10min
  • Yield: 2 servings | ice cream recipe yields about 1 1/2 quarts


For the pumpkin ice cream:
5 large egg yolks
¾ cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1 ½ tsp [pumpkin pie spice|http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/09/diy-homemade-pumpkin-pie-spice/]
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

For serving:
4 oz hot espresso
Salted caramel sauce


  • 01

    To make the ice cream: In a medium heatproof bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and 6 tbsp (¼ cup + 2 tbsp) sugar together, just to incorporate the sugar and break up the yolks; set aside. Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl and set aside.

    In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, warm the remaining sugar, cream, milk, and the salt until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture just begins to steam; reduce the heat to medium.

    Using a ladle, spoon about ¼ cup of the cream mixture in slow stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Repeat until the temperature of the egg mixture just about matches the temperature of the cream mixture. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and whisk it into the cream mixture.

    Cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber heatproof spatula, until it thickens and coats the spatula, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the custard base through the strainer into the bowl. Set the bowl in an ice water bath (a larger bowl with ice water in it) and stir the custard occasionally until it cools. Cover the bowl and chill the custard in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to overnight. Whisk the pumpkin and vanilla extract into the chilled custard.

    Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer-proof container. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer for at least 6 hours before serving.

  • 02

    To serve: Spoon some salted caramel sauce into the bottom of two serving glasses, add a couple scoops of ice cream, and pour half of the espresso over the ice cream in each glass. Serve while the espresso is still warm.

Smells Like Home original | ice cream adapted from Sweet Cream & Sugar Cones