Dirt dessert

I saw a recipe for Vietnamese coffee ice cream (and if you’ve ever been to Vietnam then you’ll understand how totally awesome the coffee is, served over condensed milk and ice *drool*) and actually couldn’t resist making it. Originally the recipe was for ice creams on sticks but since I didn’t have any popsicle sticks I simply made the ice cream in my gelato machine at home. It worked just as well, although a little soft – this ice cream melts quickly, which I suppose means you just have to eat it a little quicker….fine by me. Think soft serve rather than solid ice cream.

Served on a bed of chocolate ‘dirt’ and adorned with a thick and gooey coffee syrup, this ice cream does wonders for your taste buds – just don’t think too hard about what it’s doing to your thighs.

This was my first time making dirt and it turned out okay – not amazing and not horrible. The taste was there in a big way (because I chose to use a 70% cacao chocolate from the team at Bahen & Co). The only issue was the size of the dirt – there were a few chunky clumps which I rectified with a quick blitz of my stick-mixer once the dirt had been left to sit in the fridge (and harden). The dark chocolate used for the dirt helped to counteract the sweetness of the ice cream and syrup, adding a wonderful hit of bitterness.

While this dessert won’t be winning any beauty pageants (partly because of my lacklustre scooping/quenelling ability), I can assure you the taste will make up for its deliciously ugly appearance.

Serves 8

Dirt dessert with Vietnamese coffee ice cream, syrup and chocolate dirt

Dirt dessert with Vietnamese coffee ice cream, syrup and chocolate dirt

The list

Ice cream
250ml (1 cup) espresso, cooled
395gm can (1¼ cups) sweetened condensed milk
180ml (¾ cup) thickened cream

Coffee syrup
60ml (¼ cup) espresso
55gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
175gm (½ cup) liquid glucose

Chocolate dirt
100gm caster sugar
75gm dark chocolate roughly chopped

The method:

  1. Combine espresso, condensed milk and cream in a large jug and stir until combined.
  2. Prepare your gelato machine as per machine’s instructions. Pour mixture in and churn until thick consistency (mine took 45 minutes). If you don’t have a gelato machine, you should be able just to freeze in a bowl – I would guess roughly 3 – 4 hours to freeze.
  3. To make coffee syrup, place espresso, sugar and glucose in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 15 minutes or until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and cool completely (mixture will thicken considerably).
  4. To make your chocolate dirt. Into a small to medium saucepan add the caster sugar and gently pour in 2 tablespoons of cold water (be gentle so as to avoid splashing sugar crystals on the side of the pan). Turn on your heat to high and leave it to sit without stirring, the sugar will dissolve and bubble and boil until you see golden brown edges.
  5. Immediately remove saucepan from the heat and all at once whisk in the chocolate ensuring to whisk around the edges. Whisk until all the chocolate is coated (this doesn’t take long, maybe a couple of minutes). As the chocolate cools it will start to turn into dirt. If like me you have a few chunkier pieces, cool in the fridge and chop up later.
  6. To serve, arrange a spoonful of dirt onto a plate, top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with coffee syrup.


My dirt dessert is ugly but totally delicious

My dirt dessert is ugly but totally delicious

Ice cream recipe sourced from SBS Food.

Chocolate dirt recipe sourced from The Lone Baker.


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