Five Spice Fresh Fig Ice Cream

We are entering into a scorching week on the Front Range, and all I can think about is ice cream and fresh fruit.  Together, alone, or in any combination.  This is also the fleeting season of fresh, Brown Turkey figs from California, and when we find them we buy them in large quantities and eat them out of hand.  Harrison always puts up several pints of spiced, preserved figs for the cold months, when we eat them with aged cheese and dream of summer.  Right now it is way too hot to worry about winter, so I made up some no-cook ice cream with fresh figs and five spice powder.

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,


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9 Responses to Five Spice Fresh Fig Ice Cream

  1. DaniD June 29, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Angela, this sounds like an awesome recipe and I can't wait to try it. We got really fresh figs last week at the market, and I was looking for something to make with them! This is just the thing!!

  2. Lanie June 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Wow! This looks really really good to me. YUMMMM! Nice post. I have not seen any figs here, but if I ever see fresh figs I will buy some up and make this ice cream. I can imagine the flavor of this!

  3. N. Apel June 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Oh man, this looks so good. Figs are really under-used, considering how delicious they are.

    Nicole from CO 🙂

  4. PeasantFoodie July 1, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Ohhh….I want some of that. Exceptional flavors.

  5. Terese July 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    This looks luscious. We have fresh Black Mission figs here in Sonoma County, CA. I think I need to make this for a 4th BBQ, and there will definitely be 'foodies' there! Have you ever tried Agave Nectar to replace the sugar? wondering if that will not affect texture too much. Although you don't use much in this recipe, probably because of the natural sweetness of the figs, yes?

  6. Angela FRS July 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    Terese, I think you could definitely use agave for this–I am always a little leery of using it here (we use it all the time), just because I don't know how widely available it is. I may be too cautious in that regard, as I have seen it when I travel.

  7. claudia l July 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    I love figs and the thought of this in ice cream and freshness makes me want it have this right now!

  8. Michelle July 12, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    Looks delish! I'll have to give it a go with the big fat juicy green figs we have growing here, since we don't get the dark ones fresh.

  9. Angela FRS July 12, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Michelle, I have never had fresh green figs–jealous!

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