Modesty aside, I make a lot of good stuff, but this is really one of the best things I have made in a while. It is so simple, so good, and it would be a great dessert for a dinner party or a foodie barbecue.
Figs are wonderful dried, but if you haven’t tried them fresh you will be surprised at the delicate flavor. Figs are treated like fruit (as I have done here), but they are really an inverted flower, and when you eat them fresh the texture is soft and giving and there is a nectar-tinged edge to the sweetness. Fresh figs are quite fragile and they will not keep long, so once you buy them you should plan to eat them or preserve them within a couple of days. We love them raw, sliced and drizzled with honey for breakfast.
Chinese Five Spice is a mixed blend of spices that varies a bit according to the producer, and for this recipe I used Penzeys, which is a blend of star anise, anise seed, fennel, cinnamon, and clove. If you don’t have five spice on hand you can blend your own mix with any combination of those spices (but go easy on the clove, as it could overpower the flavor of the figs). Since it is so hot I didn’t want to do a cooked ice cream base, so I went with a plain cream base and skipped the eggs. The figs are soft enough that they break down nicely in the ice cream maker, and I think you will really love this recipe if you give it a try.
Five Spice Fresh Fig Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups milk (any type–I used plain almond milk)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (yep–this is why it is called ice cream–no substitutes here)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons five spice powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups diced fresh figs (about five large figs, stems removed)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, five spice, and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the figs and load the mixture into your ice cream maker. Churn until soft set, and then scoop into a freezer container and let the ice cream cure for an hour or two to set up. Scoop and enjoy.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you are staying nice and cool,