I knew that the Chinese term for figs is 無花果, but I didn’t know what it meant until I looked it up on Wiktionary. It literally translates to “fruit that doesn’t flower”. Apparently, fig trees don’t have blossoms like other fruit trees, and the fruit itself is an “inverted flower” or something. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make this ice cream for a while, and a tray of black figs at the local supermarket was the perfect catalyst.
The recipe is from the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Cookbook. The first step is to roast the figs with a bit of brown sugar until they’re almost mushy. I did this a day ahead, and just let the fruit, and all their purply syrup chill in the fridge.
The next day, I made the ice cream base (a standard one with cream, milk, egg yolks), but sweetened with honey. At the end of churning the base, I added the figs and some deeply toasted walnuts.
This was a very pleasant (but not mind-blowing) ice cream, with a nice sweetness (but not very floral, as I used a very mild honey), and delicious textural contrasts from the seeds, the crunch of the nuts, and the softness of the slightly tangy figs.