Vietnamese iced coffee, better known as cà phê sữa đá, is a super decadent iced coffee found at most (if not all) Vietnamese noodle (pho) places. It’s a strongly brewed coffee mixed with a healthy helping of sweetened condensed milk, served up in a tall glass filled with ice. Depending on which pho place you order this at, it will either arrive at your table separately, with a single-serve Vietnamese-style coffee filter (cà phê phin) dripping dark roasted coffee into a cup and a tall glass filled with ice and the sweetened condensed milk (so that you assemble it when the coffee is done dripping), or already mixed up and ready to drink.
Although I really enjoy cà phê sữa đá, I wouldn’t drink it everyday. It’s more of an indulgent treat when I’m out having pho at my favourite Vietnamese place (Pho Dau Bo, FTW). It’s rich, creamy, and sweet, which I think make it perfect to turn into an ice cream. I actually have to credit my friend with putting this idea in my head, because until he mentioned it, I would’ve never thought to make this into an ice cream. Well, I’m glad he said something because this is one of the easiest ice cream flavours to make and definitely one of my new favourites.
All it takes is a few simple ingredients. Since this ice cream isn’t custard (aka creme anglaise) based, it comes together so quickly. All you need is half & half, sweetened condensed milk, and some dark roast coffee of your choice. You also need a good pinch of finely ground coffee to add in (for additional coffee flavour and the beautiful speckled look).
I chose Cafe Du Monde, which is what my fave pho place uses. I picked this up at my local T & T Supermarket, along with the Vietnamese-style coffee filter (which was super cheap at only $4!). You can use any dark roast coffee or espresso, so long as it’s strongly brewed. If you can get your hands on Vietnamese coffee, that’s even better. Now, you can use the Vietnamese-style coffee filter (which was what I was going to do), but since I needed way more than a single serving, I opted to get Mark to brew some using our espresso machine.
- 1 1/2 cups (600g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) strongly brewed coffee or brewed espresso
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) half & half
- Big pinch finely ground dark roast coffee or espresso
Combine sweetened condensed milk, coffee, half &half, and ground coffee in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Chill mixture in the refrigerator until completely cool, about 2 hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.