Fig and almond ice cream

We’ve added another amazing ice cream to this summer’s stable of homemade frozen experiments.

That’s right, people. I do it all for science.

I would call this a no-cook ice cream, but that’s not exactly accurate. It’s perfect for custard cowards, though, because you don’t have to prepare a cussed custard. No temping! No straining! 

The figs will need some time to cook down on the stove top, but they require only a minimum of supervision. You could even pop them in the microwave instead, but I didn’t want it to turn too jammy too quickly, so I let it simmer while I made pad thai for dinner.

I used whole green figs from dear friends who’d picked a bag for me to make something special with. Since I didn’t know about this ice cream last month, I put the figs in the freezer, so I could patiently wait for the right recipe, unmolested by their sweet and seedy siren song.

As expected, the frozen figs worked perfectly here. After mostly-thawing them, they were as easy to stem and halve as fresh ones.

Because I didn’t use black mission figs, the colors of the finished ice cream weren’t as purple-pretty as the inspiration recipe, but I figure if your ice cream lasts long enough to stare at, you have bigger problems.


Fig and Almond Ice Cream
Adapted from this recipe at Saveur

Yield: a short quart, but this may vary based on the ripeness of your figs and how much liquid cooks out of them.

1 pound ripe green figs, stemmed and quartered (or halved if they’re small)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1½ cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

If you have an ice cream maker like my beloved Cuisinart one, make sure your ice cream bucket has been frozen for at least 24 hours prior. Or, you know, RTFM.

In a heavy-bottom pot, bring to boil the figs, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and cinnamon stick. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until figs mostly break down and mixture thickens. Remove from heat to cool.

While the figs are softening up on the stove, in a medium bowl, mash together the sugar and egg yolks. Whisk in the cream, milk, and almond extract. Scrape the mixture into the ice cream bucket — make sure to get all the sugar that sank to the bottom — and process it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Go back to your pot of figs. Mash the big lumps with a heavy spoon and/or hit it with a stick blender for a minute to get rid of any remaining pieces that are bigger than bite-size.

When the ice cream maker is done, dump the ice cream into a freezable storage container (I’m loving the new Glad Freezerware ones in large). Fold in the figgy goodness and firm it up in the freezer overnight.


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