fresh fig ice cream

My parents had a fig tree in their backyard when I was growing up (oh, the glories of southern californian weather) and every year we would have more figs than we could handle (and kumquats, and persimmons, and apricots... but i digress...) I was horrified to discover how much figs cost in the stores in the northwest. And they're not as good! Even the organic ones seemed less vibrant, less flavorful. Some day I will have my own fig tree, mark my words. The green ones with the white centers are delectable when chilled. Though, for this recipe, you want mission figs- the purple ones with the red insides.

I miss figs badly enough to approximate, so this recipe went onto the queue. This ice cream involves cooking the figs down into a jam, so it's okay if they're not the prettiest or the best figs you've ever seen. On the plus side, the color of this ice cream is phenomenal. After a half-dozen or more ice creams in varying shades of creamy pastels, I was ready for some boldness. And here it is.

The advantage of this recipe is that it does not require eggs, and therefore there is no fiddly egg-tempering custard-making step. Ease! It also does not freeze solid and is always easily scoopable.

Fresh Fig Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

2 lbs (1kg) fresh figs (Lebovitz says about 20, I needed more like 30-35)
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1 lemon
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) 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 eight pieces. (My figs were small and so I cut them into 4.) Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water and zest the lemon directly into the pan. 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 jamlike 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 thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker.

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