Prep Time 20 minutes | Chilling Time 3 hours | Makes 1L ice cream
Love a dash of Pumpkin pie spice with your coffee? This is the dessert for you.
I cannot fully function in the morning unless I’ve had my daily dose of espresso; extracted from my Sunbeam Cafe Series espresso machine, or Bialetti Moka Express, and blended with steamed milk. I also cannot resist a slab of Tiramisu which I usually pack with cream cheese, quality liquor and coffee for the ultimate decadent treat. You can check out my recipe here.
I blame a trip to Bologna, the historical centre of Emilia-Romagna, during my second year of university, for inducing these cravings which I haven’t been able to kick. Each morning I’d wake at 8:30, throw on the first pair of jeans and a t-shirt I could find and race out the door to get to class. There never seemed to be enough time for a proper sit-down breakfast, so to compensate my friends and I would stop into one of the many cafes along Via Zamboni for un caffè, consisting of nothing more than a single shot of espresso. No sugar. I’ve always found it funny that both the drink and the place where you buy it are known as ‘caffè’. I guess it makes it easier to remember.
Let’s be honest, it’s not as if I’m trying to avoid coffee. I adore the bitter mouthfeel and aromas of chocolate, citrus and spices that waft from the perfect cup. That’s why I couldn’t help but get excited when Di Bella Coffee invited me to create a recipe featuring their Nero blend. It’s rich aromas of aniseed and dark chocolate are balanced by a hint of sweet honeycomb. I thought it would taste great in a dessert, and for inspiration, I returned to my memories of that summer in Bologna, and a breakfast unlike any I’ve ever had before.
A popular dessert spot for Bolognese locals, Gelateria Gianni, sits along Via San Vitale at the foot of the famous twin towers Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli. It is here that they serve up fresh gelato daily, made the authentic way using milk rather than cream or eggs. I may have taken a detour on the way to class one morning to pay Gianni’s a visit. I was impressed by the vast multitude of flavours on offer on a menu which changed daily. These ranged from classics likeTiramisu, Hazelnut and Pistachio, to wacky flavours inspired by superheroes including The Incredible Hulk and Batman. They even had a special Nutella-based gelato inspired by the Two Towers. Aside from the standard la coppetta, cup, or il cono, these Italians also serve up gelato as brioche con gelato which, as you might have guessed, comes in a Brioche bun. It is the type of dessert that must be held in both hands to be eaten and enjoyed. Now that’s what I call an ice cream sandwich. As I bit into the warm, buttery dough, the gelato dripped down my fingers. It was so worth it.
Brioche can be a little tricky to get a hold of so instead I’ve used croissants which are of more-or-less a similar texture, albeit different shape. I’ve also got the easiest recipe for a no-churn ice cream made from nothing more than cream, condensed milk, liquid glucose and the flavourings of your choice. The inverted sugars in the glucose prevent the ice cream from freezing into a solid mass, which results in a smooth ice cream. No more scraping and churning. Pumpkin pie spice has become an increasingly popular addition to coffee, cakes and other sweet treats in the lead up to the Christmas season so I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about. It can be a little hard to find in Australia, but keep reading to check out a delicious alternative.
What The Food? Pumpkin pie spice is an American spice blend containing cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s a little tricky to find in Australia so make your own. Simply combine 4 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp each ground ginger and nutmeg and ½ tsp ground cloves. Store in an airtight container in your pantry and use in desserts or sprinkle on coffee.
For the pumpkin pie spice latte ice cream
- Di Bella Nero Blend coffee
- 1tbsp clear glucose syrup
- 400mL thickened cream
- 395g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 2tsp pumpkin pie spice (to make your own see What The Food above)
For the Hot Butter Croissants
- Butter crossiants, fresh or frozen, one per person
- Caramel sauce or honey, to serve
- Pumpkin pie spice, to serve
Brew the coffee. Brew 60mL or 2 shots Di Bella coffee following the directions on the packet. Add the glucose syrup and stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool.
Make the ice cream. Have a 1L freezer safe container with a lid, or rectangular ceramic dish, ready to store the ice cream. Place the cream into a medium mixing bowl. Beat with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Add the condensed milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and fold with a silicone spatula until combined. Pour into the freezer-safe container and place the lid on. Alternatively pour into the baking dish and cover with cling film. Place into the freezer for three hours, or until firm.
Prepare the sandwiches. When you can no longer resist the wait, remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften while you toast the croissants. Slice the croissants in half, lengthways, and place onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or according to the packet directions, until toasted to your liking. Place the bottom half of the croissant onto a plate. Top with a scoops of ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. Top with the other croissant half and enjoy.
Check out the great range of Di Bella Coffee blends here.
- The ice-cream will keep between 2-4 weeks in the freezer, if you can resist it for that long that is. I’d recommend consuming on the day it’s made as it will be much creamier.
- For a sugar-free version of this dessert use unsweetened condensed milk and sweeten with liquid stevia or pure maple syrup, to taste.
- No croissants, or brioche? My chocolate chip cookies will make a delicious ice cream sandwich. Check out the recipe here.
Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,