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

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Plum Ice Cream

How about some delicious, refreshing ice cream. Last year, I bought a very inexpensive ice cream maker at a church sale. It only cost me $2.00 so I figured that if I ever used it even one time I would get my money's worth out of it. It is called "The Big Chill" by Salton. Well, so far this summer D and I have made two types of ice cream. The first type we made is Plum Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop. We went through the entire book. It is a beautifully photographed cookbook. D picked out the plum ice cream recipe. He thought it would be great to make plum ice cream because (1) it is an unusual flavor that you can't buy it in a grocery store or at any ice cream shops; and (2) he likes plums. I followed the recipe explicitly except I didn't use the kirsch that was called for. I didn't want to use any alcohol in the recipe so I substituted the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries. We really liked the results of the recipe except both my mom and D say the ice cream tastes more like cherry than plum. I don't agree. It also results in such a pretty pink colored ice cream. Try this recipe yourself and let me know what you think.

Plum Ice Cream by
David Lebovitz

1 pound plums (about 8)
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kirsch (substitute 1/2 teaspoon juice from maraschino cherries)

Slice the plums in half and remove the pits. Cut the plums into eighths and put them in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Once cool, puree in a blender or food processor with the cream and kirsch until smooth.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The Creative Cook