Fig season is upon us and produce stalls boast plentiful trays of purple figs, soft at the hips and oft leaking a drop of sap from their, um, bottom. Of course, they cost an eye — figs are a luxury in Paris any time of the year — but the fig fanatic in me is willing to make any sort of monetary sacrifice to fuel my addiction.
But, lo and behold, my supermarket was offering an all-things-considered good price on Solliès figs the other day, and it was just the excuse I needed to make fig ice cream for a dinner party we were hosting.
Because I wasn’t entirely sure how my figs rated on the flavor scale — I tasted one and gave it a 6, but statisticians may agree that a sample of one fig isn’t enough to draw any sort of conclusion regarding the entire population — I decided to take an insurance policy by throwing in a few dried figs, to sustain the overall flavor.
Many a blogger has been heard raving about the fig ice cream in the ice cream guru‘s book, and I myself used the recipe as a guide, modifying it to include dried figs, and use Greek-style yogurt in place of cream, and Limoncello instead of lemon juice*.
And well, you may now count me among those who can serenade all night about the unctuosity and vividness of this ice cream — a little bit like my neighbor from across the courtyard, who I wish would either shut her window or sing something other than Natalie Imbruglia. Karaoke: it’s not for everyone.
And before we part, I will add this: when I first looked at the picture of this ice cream in David’s book, I knit my brow and puckered my lips into a dubitative pout (please take a moment to picture this). Could fig ice cream turn out this purple? But now that I’ve made it myself — and I promise I did not fiddle with the colors in the picture above — I’m here to tell you that, yes, fig ice cream can turn out this purple. Or more accurately in my case, pinkish purple, the kind of ice cream you wouldn’t mind smearing all over your white shirt, so lovely the color is.
* David Lebovitz explains that a little alcohol helps ice cream remain soft.
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- 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) dried figs, about 4
- 900 grams (2 pounds) ripe fresh figs, preferably purple, about 18 medium
- 1 organic lemon
- 140 grams (2/3 cup, packed) unrefined brown cane sugar (I used muscovado)
- 150 grams (5 fl.oz.) Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Limoncello or lemon juice
- Freeze the bowl of your ice cream machine as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Trim the tip of the dried figs' stems. Place the dried figs in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to plump up for 15 minutes. Drain and quarter.
- Trim the tip of the fresh figs' stems and cut into quarters.
- In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine the fresh figs with 125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh water, and zest the lemon directly over the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook for 6 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the dried figs and cook, covered, for another 3 minutes.
- Add the sugar, stir to combine, and cook, uncovered, until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool completely. (This can be prepared a day in advance. Cover and chill.)
- Purée the fig mixture in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the yogurt and limoncello, and mix thoroughly. Taste and add a little more limoncello if desired.
- Place in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.
- Churn in your ice cream maker. Transfer to a freezer-friendly container, and apply a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent the formation of water crystals.
This post was originally published on October 23, 2007 and updated on December 21, 2015.