Sunday, September 9, 2012

Now bring us some figgy pudding

I've been on an ice cream making kick of late (as this blog indicates).  One of my contacts on Google Plus recently posted about her attempts to recreate a flavor from her youth, honey sweetened vanilla ice cream.  I loved the idea of pairing the warmth of honey with vanilla, but I wanted to incorporate an early harvest of figs into the ice cream, both to make use of them, and to challenge myself to make use of fruit as it comes available from the property.

Early harvest bounty

I took 8 figs, washed them and cut the tops and bases from them.  Once cleaned and processed, I cut them into quarters and then roughly chopped them.  I added them to a saucepan with approximately 1/2 C orange juice and a tablespoon of orange zest, and cooked down to a thick, jammy consistency.  After cooling overnight in the fridge, I hit the mixture with an immersion blender with chopping blade and pulsed on low to a rough chop consistency.

Processed fig mixture

I made one mistake with Kath's recipe, using regular whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream (a purchasing error on my part), and while the finished ice cream was missing a little richness, it was still delicious.  As a bonus, I was preparing the ice cream for a family gathering, and one of my aunts had been put on a restricted diet that kept her from eating refined sugars - and this ice cream fit the bill perfectly.  The honey and cooked fig flavors are warm and caramel-y, which is offset wonderfully by the brightness of the citrus.

Finished deliciousness

This was my final recipe, as adapted from Kath's version:

Honey Sweetened Vanilla with Orange Figs
  • 1 C whole milk, well chilled
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 2 C whipping cream, well chilled (Kath's recipe calls for heavy whipping cream)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 figs, washed, quartered and chopped - tips and buds removed
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 1 T orange zest

Place chopped figs, orange juice and zest in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook down to a jam-like consistency and cool overnight.  Process fig mixture roughly with an immersion blender and chopping blade.

Whisk together milk and honey, until honey is completely incorporated.  Warming the honey slightly will ease the incorporation process.  Once combined, stir in the whipping cream and return to refrigerator to chill.

Add dairy mixture to ice cream maker and process for 25-30 minutes.  Add fig mixture to ice cream maker and process approximately 5 minutes to incorporate.  Remove ice cream to air tight container and freeze 6+ hours to set.


  1. Your orange-fig ice cream sounds fantastic, Jason! It's such a creative variation on the basic vanilla ice cream. And what a treat for your aunt to be able to eat it.

    1. Thanks, Kath! I wasn't made aware of her dietary needs until she arrived, so it was pure serendipity. The general consensus was that the ice cream was excellent, but the fig flavor was less prevalent than most expected. I may try roasting the figs instead, then mixing them with some orange zest.