Two-Fig Ice Cream Recipe

Two-Fig Ice Cream

A favorite from the archives, this post was originally published on October 23, 2007.

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 agave syrup as a sweetener, 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.

Glace aux Deux Figues

– 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) dried figs, about 4
– 900 grams (2 pounds) fresh and ripe purple figs, about 18 medium
– 1 organic lemon
– 70 grams (1/3 cup, packed) unrefined brown cane sugar (I used muscovado)
– 70 grams (1/4 cup) agave syrup (if unavailable, just use 140 grams or 2/3 cup cane sugar)
– 150 grams (5 fl.oz.) Greek-style yogurt
– 1 tablespoon Limoncello or lemon juice

Makes about 1 liter (1 quart).

Pre-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 the dried figs.

Trim the tip of the fresh figs’ stems and cut the fruits 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 and agave syrup, 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. Chill thoroughly, and 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.

Cooking/baking time: 15 min

  • http://eleanoreats.blogspot.com/ Eleanor Cawston

    A drop or two of rose water might not go amiss in this. As the ice cream warmed up as you ate it, this would probably give a gorgeous perfume as being very volatile it would start to evaporate quicker than the other ingredients.

    If I recall my school chemistry correctly, alcohol keeps ices etc soft because it has a much, much lower freezing point than water, so it doesn’t solidify in a domestic freezer.

  • http://proofofthepudding.wordpress.com Dana

    I love the idea of using Greek yogurt (my favorite). And figs…mmmmm.

  • Cheryl

    Congratulations on the mention of your book in the current issue of Gourmet!

  • http://casualbaker.blogspot.com Sheena S.

    A lovely colour indeed!

    By the way, I’m really enjoying your new French version of C&Z. It’s a great way to practice my French and it’s interesting to note the slight differences in the references you use, etc.

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    It seems I’m going to have to buy this book. I’ve been putting it off for WAY too long! I really like your adaptations to the recipe. Did the dry figs ensure the true fig flavor or did the figs on sale suffice?

  • Charlotte

    Oh how I wish my supermarket would run a special on figs! I can’t even fondle them, they’re all wrapped in plastic. Pout.

  • http://balancefood.blogspot.com Christy

    More food science fun: the alcohol will depress/lower the freezing point, which is what helps the ice cream remain soft. It’s especially useful to soak fruit in alcohol before freezing so as to avoid tooth-breakingly hard pieces.

  • Rachel

    All of your ice cream posts have made me long for an ice cream maker, but none more so than this one (and remember, this is someone who is mad about mango, coconut and chocolate)! You’ve also made me feel very nostalgic for when I lived in France and could buy big plastic boxes of figs from the supermarket for a relatively reasonable price… in the UK they invariably come by the piece and at a much higher price. *sigh*

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com casey

    How incredibly delcious that looks. The color is exquisite. I, too, love the idea of using yogurt.
    Now if only I could be eating it in Paris.

  • http://www.trialsnerror.blogspot.com Nabeela

    I’ve never posted a comment here(was too intimidated!). But when you posted a link to my blog, I had to come out of my hiding!
    Lovely, lovely color of the ice cream….wish my figs were that purple *sigh*

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

    This looks like such a wonderful fresh and light dessert. I was happy to see the use of the agave syrup. I have been trying it out in a few things. Now I know it is also good in ice creams.

  • http://FreshAdriaticFish.blogspot.com Sanja

    delicious! in Dalmatia w do not have lots of purple figs but manly green ones, but I’ll definitely try to find some purple figs just to try this recipe. I saw it already at Beck&Posh’s and every time it made want to jump into picture and just ate it!

  • http://burntlumpia.typepad.com Marvin

    David’s book is quite wonderful isn’t it? I’ve recently made a lime granita adapted from his book. And I love your use of limoncello in this recipe.

  • http://www.xanga.com/chef_kayenne kayenne

    it does look seriously pink to me… and yes, a lovely shade! one that i love to wear! =D

    the only purple ice cream i can so far accept is the local purple yam “ube” ice cream. YUMMY!

    this post seriously reinforces my hope to buy myself the KA ice cream maker bowl for christmas. then perhaps i can justify buying david’s book that i often see teasing me at the bookstore.

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    J’adore les figues, hélas difficile d’en trouver à cette saison du côté de Munich!

  • http://www.LemonJuiceandOliveOil.com Jamie

    I’m left wondering if it’s possible to adapt this recipe for making it in a VitaMix. I’ve made sorbets from frozen fruit in it, but haven’t yet tried actual ice cream. (Oh how I wish I had a larger kitchen to store and use fancy equipment…)

  • http://anecdotesandco.canalblog.com/ Gourmeline

    Bonjour Clotilde, ton blog est LE blog qui m’a fait découvrir l’univers des blogs de cuisine. Il est très sympa et j’aime beaucoup te lire en anglais (je révise un peu comme cela). Je me suis, sur tes conseils, inscrite aux cours de cuisine traditionnelle à paris mais je n’ai pas été retenue, sniff ! ah oui et j’étais à san francisco en mai, j’ai raté ton book signing à 1 journée près dommage !

  • http://www.cheeseandchoux.com cheeseandchoux

    I would never think to do figs and ice cream, but I’m pumped now. However, I think the color hooked me more than the fig. I would paint a room that purple, left to my own devices. And, I just received my very first ice cream maker, so it’s time to Christen it…

  • http://www.sugarheadblog.com SugarHead

    Well done! I even will use recipe in my kitchen, that great it is.

    Kind Regards from Dubai, Chris

  • jen

    Quelles belles couleures!

    I have a purple fig tree in my front yard and can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks for the idea about the rose water first commenter :)

  • http://www.chubbypanda.com Chubbypanda

    It’s actually practically impossible to freeze alcohol under normal conditions. Russian peasants used to improve the cheap vodka they were able to buy by leaving the bottle in the snow behind their houses. The water would freeze, trapping the impurities and the almost pure alcohol remaining could then be poured off and thinned with pure water. There were even a few deaths from people to drank the ice cold alcohol without thinning it properly or allowing it to warm. It froze their throats shut.

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food Blogga

    I recently enjoyed a fig gelato with pistachios, which was heavenly. Now, I’m tempted to make your recipe to enjoy at home.

  • http://kellytheculinarian.blogspot.com Kelly Mahoney

    That’s a beautiful color in that dessert.

  • http://www.thesecretingredientonline.blogger.com The Secret Ingredient

    I too, have been contemplating putting an ice cream maker on my Christmas list, and I think this confirms it! I LOVE figs, and recently wrote a blog entry about them myself. My grandfather grew them in his backyard…..if I only apprecated them as a kid! What I would do now to be transported back to that yard as he gently plucked the figs from the tree! He handled them with such care, like they were precious gifts—–and as an adult, I can finally appreciate that. He would have turned 99 on Tuesday had he still been alive! Here’s to figs and my Grandpa Rizzo! :)

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com gloria

    I love this recipe because I love figs too!! The curios is about two days I make a recipe with figs too.!! but is differente because is a poppy seed’s mousse with Figs’jam, only I think in the blog sometimes we think similar. Gloria
    I love you blog.

  • paperbackwriter

    Gorgeous!

    When are you going to make an ice cream using your spiced chocolate peanut butter? Yum.

  • Francesca

    Mmm figs! Your recipe looks and sounds yummy. I love figs with mascarpone so I may try to tinker. I do have a bone to pick with you though, Clotilde. You don’t seem to have done your homework on the rose ice cream you mentioned about a month ago. I suppose I’ll just have to be patient. It’s not too great a hardship when I’ve got all your other wonderful recipes to keep me going.

  • http://www.parisbreakfast.com parisbreakfasts

    Seeing all the figs here in Paris made me think of Astoria, NY oddly enough, where figs are a major Fall arrival. They come in all colors and forms and are often boxed 12 at a time – perfect for making batches of ice cream I suppose.

  • The Bannker

    You have some really nice recipes…especially intrigued by the Chocolate Zucchini one which I shall give a try soon. You and your chocolaholic readers will also enjoy the creative college student baker. she has some really appetizing chocolate recipes and photos including her yummy Brown-ka-roons! Check it out! By the way….”Chocolateshow” is coming to New York City on November 10-13. You may know that it is modeled after the famous Salon du Chocolat in Paris!

  • http://savor.etsy.com savor

    I live in SF so we’re big on figs here, going to have to try this out!

  • http://www.ifoods.tv niall

    Have never tried it with the limcello but am sure that that gives it a nice little kick!

  • Robert

    Hi Clotilde,
    Love this fig idea. Just thought you’d like to know black figs freeze and keep well for months. My grandmother used this trick to extend the season on her mission fig tree in california. Pick at prime (or buy), wash, cut in quarters and arrange on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer and once fully frozen, put in zipper bags to store. I’ve also been known to just dice up leftovers and freeze them when making fig jam and the bounty is too much for the recipe. Ive got 8 cups in the freezer right now pending my next fig adventure.

  • Robert

    Forget to mention…
    all that purple comes from the dark skin. If you make the mistake of peeling your figs, you will get nothing but wimpy pink. Same goes for fig jam. All the wonderful color comes from that black mission fig skin.

  • http://nookandpantry.blogspot.com/ Amy

    I have a fig addiction too and I thank you for this recipe! I adore the color of the ice cream.

  • http://extra-pepites-please.blogspot.com/2007/10/message-to-product-team-at-kelloggs.html Lynh

    Hi Clotilde,
    this looked so good that even though it was freezing this weekend, I dragged my boyfriend to Il Laboratorio del Gelato to have, of course, fig gelato.
    It was awesome, though not as purple as yours. It made my cup. (fig and their milk chocolate malt flavor go together really well).
    And my boyfriend almost agreed that fig + chocolate gelato on a cold day was better than a cup of hot chocolate would have been… huge thanks for the fun weekend idea.

  • http://www.beansandcaviar.blogspot.com BC

    I’ve had an electric ice cream maker for almost twenty years and it is fantastic. I’ve never tried figs since they have only recently arrived in this part of Canada. However, a maple ice cream sounds like the next venture.

  • http://mr-scott.blogspot.com scott

    a friend of mine said the same thing to me in trader joe’s not too long ago. i replied, “i suppose they heard me whisper little love messages to them as i gently place them in my cart week after week.”

    i need help i think.

  • Paige

    This looks incredible! I love figs and will have to try your recipe.

  • http://icecreamireland.com Kieran

    Oh, for fresh figs!

  • http://www.TheHungerStruck.com Natalie

    oooh this looks amazing. I’ve often though about making fig ice cream but always assumed that the flavor of the figs we get in vancouver wouldn’t come through with an ice cream. But dried figs, that may be the answer!

  • http://beyondthewindow.wordpress.com beyond

    oh my gosh. this looks absolutely heavenly. i love fig season. a few days a go i had balsamic fig custard (soft ice cream) at shake shack and it was deliciously sweet with just the right amount of twang. i wish i had an ice cream maker to try your version.

  • Amy

    I wish I had found this recipe last month, when my fig tree was bearing! I adore fresh figs. I have found with ice creams like this, if I freeze most of the liquids first, then throw them all in the VitaMix, I can make it in a few seconds, and not bother with the ice cream maker.

  • http://amusebouchefortwo.blogspot.com Amuse-bouche for Two

    I love figs!

  • swan

    Eleanor, who wrote the very first comment, is right, a little rosewater would go very well in this recipe!

    I just made two batches of figjam – gorgeous colour as well, and while last year I used earl grey tea to ‘ perfume’ my jam, this year I used my favourite (black) rose tea. And an extra drop of rose syrup.

    Lets just say all the jam-receivers were very, very impressed :-)

  • Barbara

    I ADORE the color! And figs in general. We made some roasted game hens with figs and bacon a few weeks ago. Now I wish I had your ice cream to go with it!

  • http://www.cowgirlchef.com Cowgirl Chef

    Been thinking about making fig ice cream and love the idea of using yogurt instead of cream, anyway. I’m buying figs at the market this weekend!

  • http://www.passportfoodie.com Passport Foodie

    Fig ice cream. I love it.

    Another recipe to add to the list to make at home when I don’t feel like reviewing a restaurant.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.figueetnoisette.blogspot.com Kristin

    Oh Clotilde, if only I had this recipe 2 weeks ago when I was picking figs from a giant figuier in the South of France and we had more figs than we knew what to do with. Alas, I am home in Canada now, where figs don’t grow, they get shipped in from California.

    Kristin

    PS I bought your Edible Adventures in Paris and had fun trying out some wonderful bakeries and shops while we were there. I even toted en entire pain Poilane across the Atlantic on Monday and have been enjoying it with good Normandy butter and miel du chataigner from my father in law’s bees.

  • http://www.bitchinlifestyle.tv Angelique from Bitchin Kitchen

    What an awesome recipe! I love homemade ice cream and I think I love it even more that you used Greek yogurt! However, my question is this: Does using yogurt instead if cream change the consistency?

  • http://pardonthatvine.com Taes

    Who doesn’t like figs? They are so good! You know what goes good with figs? Wine!

    If you love food and want to pair it with a great wine, click on my name and it’ll take you to a website I found…This guy knows his wine for sure. I’ve learned more from his videos than any other place on the net. I consult his page before buying wine, every time!

    Thanks for the post – delicious!
    Taes

  • http://www.justchowbella.com Jessica

    The color of that ice cream is what drew me into you blog- gorgeous! I love the idea of using limoncello in place of lemon juice. I wondered though, if that had any effect on the freezing of the ice cream? I thought maybe the high alcohol content in the limoncello may not allow it to freeze as hard as it normally might. What are you thought?
    Thanks for the post!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Jessica – As noted in the post above, “a little alcohol helps ice cream remain soft.” It doesn’t prevent it from freezing in such a small quantity, but it will prevent it from turning very hard after a night in the freezer, as sorbets often do.

  • http://howsweet.wordpress.com/ Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

    This is a great blog! I absolutely adore figs. I will have to try this!

  • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    You know when you read a recipe and realize you have half the ingredients in your pantry, but not the most important half? Or when you don’t really like something (for me ice cream) but then a rash of recipes comes along that turns the notion on its head?

    It is high season for figs in Berlin, and then my mom was reminding me about my sister’s fig tree in California, so I now feel that the universe compels me to make this recipe. Looks beautiful- plus gives me an excuse to add another liqueur to my pantry!

  • http://www.mixingbowlkids.ca Mixing Bowl Mama

    Figs in ice cream…how brilliant and something I’ve never thought of despite making ice cream with fruit all summer long. I’m not sure if we have the same figs here in Canada as you do but I’m certainly hoping so, so I can give this a try. Thanks for re-sharing!

  • http://www.mangiavita.com Nicole @ Mangiavita

    My husband would go insane for this – only I am really unbelievably bad at desserts. I have stopped trying a long time ago, but maybe he’ll give this a try!

  • http://www.thelittlekitchenthatcould.com ASHLEA

    Yum! I absolutely love figs and look forward to fig season every year. I have never even thought about fig ice cream… delicious!

  • http://www.russianseason.net Alina

    This is such an elegant dessert! I have no idea what agave syrup tastes like, however :((

  • Aiyana

    It sounds divine! Such a pity figs are so far out of my budget!

  • http://www.chickiedee.com RobbieLee at Chickiedee

    The image drew me in instantly… and then as I read on I thought, “That would be a perfect dessert tonight!” Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.ParisPerfect.com Paris Perfect Apartments

    Just bought an ice cream maker for our daughter and can’t wait to try the fig ice cream! Am new to blogs and yours is one of the best.

  • mandymoll

    Loved your recipe! However, I’m curious to know how you were able to get that beautiful purplish-pink hue. When I cook mission figs to a jamlike consistency, the mixture turns a dark brown.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I don’t do anything in particular, so I suspect it’s the variety of fig that I find here that remains purple when cooked.

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