Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fresh Fig Ice Cream

Here is the second unusual flavor of ice cream that we made this summer. We used another recipe from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" cookbook. D wanted to make it for his grandma. My mom is a fig-lover. I have to admit that I didn't try this ice cream. I packed it up and passed it on to her. D insisted that he wanted to try some so I kept just one scoop for him. My mom said it was very "figgy". We weren't able to get the Black Mission figs that David Lebovitz suggests using in the recipe. In fact, I didn't think we would be able to get any figs at all. One day last week, my mom called and said, "I found figs." We never get a steady supply of figs in this part of the world. As the expert on figs, my mom ate a few to see how they tasted. She said they were terrible but tasted really good in the ice cream. If you can obtain the Black Mission figs, please do use them in this recipe. I am sure the ice cream would be a much prettier color than the yellowish-green color we got. David Lebovitz says it comes out a "lovely deep-violet color." Maybe next summer we'll find some really good figs and try this again.

2 pounds fresh figs (about 20)
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, non-reactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are a jam like consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, puree the fig paste in a blender or food processor with the cream and lemon juice. Taste, then add more lemon juice if desired.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The first picture above shows the figs cooking on the stove in the first step. The second picture shows the mixture or batter after we pureed it with the cream and lemon juice and the last picture shows the ice cream after it was frozen in my "Big Chill" ice cream maker.

In his book, David Lebovitz expresses surprise that many people don't know what a fresh fig looks like. I am not that surprised. I grew up in NYC so I did see figs in the grocery stores and fruit markets but, as I mentioned, out here in the "boonies" you don't see figs in the markets very often. He also informs us that once a fig is picked, it won't ripen any further. He says to buy only figs that are "dead-ripe." Per David, "a ripe fig is one whose sides crack and split and a dewy drop of juice starts to ooze from the tiny hole in the bottom." Thanks David. I had no idea~! My only experience with figs is eating the famous Fig Newton cookies (which I love) and sometimes a dried fig. I learned a lot from this experience. Next, D wants to make baked-potato ice cream. Sounds yucky but who knows??


The Creative Cook