Monday, January 30, 2012

fig and port ice cream

You know how sometimes it can be a leeeeeettle bit difficult to get back to work after the weekend? I like to have little motivators. Like a rented movie waiting for me at home (The Ides of March is sitting in my iTunes queue). Or an insanely fun Monday night kickboxing class (Natalie Yco is the best).

This port and fig ice cream would be my current motivator. Pure decadence. A scoop (or two or three) of this and Monday didn't seem too bad.

We whipped up this batch of ice cream with some preserved figs. Each year for the holidays my Mom puts together an adorable "foodie" basket of unique and interesting finds as a present for us - we've seen Spanish sherry vinegar, dried mushrooms, honeycomb, and now a beautiful jar of preserved whole figs in a lovely syrup.

You could totally use fresh figs. Fig preserves. Or even reconstitute some dried figs. There is no exact science to this. It's just that the fig and port flavors mix so well together. It's rather heavenly actually.

She picked up these preserved figs from Bristol Farms, if you're interested.

Our friend Kay generously bought us a bottle of white port recently. We had a few ounces left, so it happily made its way into the ice cream.

Fig and Port Ice Cream
Adapted from the Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbet

Plain Ice Cream Base:
2cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches 170 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the eggs yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the yolks by very slowly pouring the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees, Do not bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at last 4 hours or overnight.

Fig and Port Ice Cream:
Plain ice cream base
1 jar preserved figs
8 ounces port, separated

Remove figs from the preserves syrup. Chop the figs and place in a saucepan over low heat with 4 ounces white port and the majority of the preserves syrup (retain 2 tablespoons for later use). Cook until caramelized and the figs have absorbed the majority of liquid, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Place half the caramelized fig mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate the pureed fig and chopped fig mixtures (separately) until cold, approximately 4 hours or overnight.

Whisk the pureed figs and the remaining 4 ounces of white port into the plain ice cream base. Process in the ice cream maker, according to your machine's instructions.

With 5 minutes remaining, add in chopped figs mixture and 2 tablespoons of fig preserves syrup.

Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.


  1. This looks AMAZING. And holy moly, we just rented Ides of March yesterday too! I didn't even realize George Clooney had directed it until the end credits, he did a great job.

  2. Looks delish, and yes Natalie Yco is the best! MIss her classes!