Sunday, July 15, 2012

This little figgy...

Fresh Fig Gelato with Orange and Cinnamon

   I love fresh figs, there's just something about them. The best figs I've ever had were in Italy, I was with a tour group and we finally had an hour of "free time" which to everyone else meant eat gelato and shop for crappy souvenirs. I was with some family members and we stopped in this tiny cafe and ordered a few appetizers (the standard fare for most of the trip was pizza and french fries-yuck!) One of the dishes we ordered was a fresh fig, honey and cheese plate. There was just something about the sweetness of the figs and the bite of the Manchego cheese and a quiet moment away from the group that made it special.
    Fig season is incredibly short but I look forward to it every year (just like quinces). Barely having bought my figs, they started to ripen. Pushing off my plans of making licorice gelato I thought fig gelato! A couple of searches later and I found a lovely recipe from the Times-Picayune and I was on my way. I love making gelato at home. There's less air, more cream and the flavors are so intense you will never purchase ice cream from the frozen food section again! On top of that, its been bloody well over 100 degrees here (after 90 does it really matter that the heat index makes it 116?) and a nice dish of  creamy cool gelato helps with your air conditioner conking out. And there's fruit in it, so that makes it healthy, right?


8 ounces fresh figs, chopped into bite sized pieces (I cut mine into 8 pieces)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tblspn plus 1/2 cup brown sugar (divide the 1/2 cup)

1/4 tspn ground cinnamon

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 large egg yolks at room temperature

1/2 tspn vanilla (real vanilla, not that substitute crap)

Pinch of kosher salt

Cooking the fig mixture

In a small saucepan place the figs, orange juice, 1tblspn brown sugar and cinnamon and cook over a low heat until the figs are soft but not mushy. This should take 10-15 minutes and will make your kitchen smell delicious. Set it aside until it reaches room temperature.


After Cooking the Figgy Mixture

Cooking the milk and cream
Egg yolks, Brown sugar, Vanilla and Salt

  While the figs are cooling, place the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and whisk them until they are completely mixed. 

Place the milk, cream and 1/4 cup of brown sugar in a large (ish) saucepan and cook over a low heat, whisking occasionally until the temperature reaches 175 degrees. 

Now you are going to temper! It is VERY important when making gelato to always add the milk mixture to your eggs. If you reverse it, you will get scrambled egg gelato and thats gross.....

So...Slowly add the milk mixture to the egg mixture-Whisking! Return the now combined mixture back into the saucepan-whisking.....Cook the mixture until it reaches 185 degrees. Make sure your mixture doesn't boil. Put a fine metal strainer on the bowl that contained the eggs (wash first) and pour the milk and egg mixture in. 

Let the mixture reach room temperature and then add your fig mixture. Cover and refrigerate it for about 3 hours. Pour it in your ice cream maker , wait until it is the right consistency and enjoy!

Just about ready to eat!

This ice cream is super creamy with a strong fig flavor that deepens by the day. I recommend eating it within 2 to 3 days, by itself or on top of a nice piece of pie.                        

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