My grandmother used to have a fig tree outside her kitchen door. I have vivid memories of my Dad heading straight out the door to pick a few the moment we would arrive for a visit. As a kid, I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of figs. The only way I ever ate them was overly processed in a Fig Newton! But thank goodness my taste buds matured! Now, just like my Dad, I can’t get enough of this luscious fruit.
Recently, a friend dropped off a huge container of figs she picked at her in-laws farm. There were definitely more of these ripe little treasures than I could reasonably snack on before they would turn bad. So I decided to try to imitate a version of a divine ice cream Chef Stephen Hassinger at the Inn at Hunt Phelan (Memphis, TN) dishes up each summer.
First, I made a quick and easy jam with the ripe figs. Some recipes may call for peeling the figs but I think leaving the fig skins on makes for an even more intense flavor. (Plus it’s easier!) Instead of plain vanilla for the ice cream base, I added a bit of sour cream. The tartness of the sour cream offered a nice contrast to the sweetness of the figs. Praline pecans were an added crunchy indulgence.
Hope you enjoy this creamy treat as much as we did!
Fig Ripple Ice cream
For the Fig Jam:
1 ½ pounds ripe figs, stems removed, unpeeled
1/3 cup sugar
For the Vanilla-Sour Cream Ice Cream Base:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped Praline Pecans (optional)
For the Fig Jam:
Puree the figs in a food processor or blender. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the fig puree and the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the figs have thickened into a jam, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Ice Cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, whipping cream and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat until just simmering. Do not boil.
Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour.
Return the cream mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 6 minutes. Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Whisk in the sour cream. Cool the custard over an ice bath until room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.
After the ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it is done), add the fig jam, 1 spoonful at a time, and the pecans. Then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.
This fig jam recipe is so tasty. Feel free to save a little for your morning toast. It will keep in your refrigerator, covered, for one week.
If figs aren’t in season, you can still enjoy this ice cream. Substitute your favorite jarred Fig Jam/Preserves.