I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love fresh figs. Rather than just devouring them all as soon as I buy them, I’m trying to experiment with them in a lot more of my cooking this season (stay tuned for more figgy foods!), and if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that if there is any one thing I have to do with any fruit, its make it into an ice cream. I’ve also been interested in how wonderfully figs pair with a variety of cheeses, so I thought I’d also experiment with another somewhat exotic ice cream flavor that caught my eye. So today, two ice creams for the price of one, swirled together in delicious harmony: Fig & Goat Cheese!
I imagine this flavor might perk up a few (skeptical) eyebrows, but that’s fine by me–more ice cream for me! I was in love with this. Firstly, my love for goat cheese is no secret. Secondly, have you ever tried fresh figs with goat cheese (or any cheese, for that matter? Parmigiano Reggiano? Stilton? You’ve got options)? Its a simple but absolutely wonderful flavor pairing. And thirdly? Oh come on, its ice cream! The goat cheese ice cream on its own is very thick, rich, and has that distinct tang (albeit, a bit milder than straight goat cheese) you only get from goat cheese. The fig ice cream has a delightful color (palish pink to deep purple, depending on the fig variety you use–and speaking of pink colored foods, I’m submitting this to Power of Pink hosted by Beantown Baker), the light crunch of the little seeds, and that vibrant, honeyed, sweetness all we fig-lovers crave. Together, it wasn’t just the usual fig & goat cheese but it was still awesome.
I prepared the two ice cream flavors separately as I didn’t want their distinct flavors to get lost in each other, so I prepared both the fresh fig and the goat cheese ice cream as per David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, swirling them together when both went into the freezer. Whip up a batch before fig season is over so you can keep enjoying a little bit of fig season from your freezer to hold you over until next year!
- Goat Cheese Ice Cream
- 1.5 cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 8 oz goat cheese
- 6 egg yolks
- Fresh Fig Ice Cream
- ~2 lbs fresh figs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
Begin with the figs. Slice off and discard the stems and then cut each fig into eighths. Put the fig pieces in a saucepan with the water and lemon zest. Cover the pan and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Once time is up, add the sugar, stirring and cooking for several more minutes until the mixture thickens up to a jam-like texture.
While the figs are still hot, carefully transfer this to your food processor and puree. Let this sit to cool back to room temperature.
Now, on to the goat cheese ice cream. In a saucepan, scald the milk and sugar. While that warms up, beat the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer until they lighten in color. Also, crumble the goat cheese in a bowl and set it aside with a strainer set up on top.
Once the milk is thoroughly warmed, temper the yolks with some of the hot milk and then transfer the yolk mixture into the warm saucepan. Stir and scrape constantly over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Once the custard is cooked through, pour it through the strainer (to catch any scrambled bits of egg) onto the goat cheese crumbles.
Keep stirring the custard and goat cheese so as to gradually melt the cheese (did you know that shocking/over-heating cheese can cause it to seize up? Sort of like improperly melting chocolate). The mixture should become thick and silky smooth. Once it is, set this bowl in an ice bath to prevent the custard from cooking any further in all of its own residual heat. After a few minutes in the ice bath, cover with plastic wrap and set this aside in the fridge until thoroughly chilled for a few hours.
Now, back to the cool fig mixture. Squeeze in the juice of half of your zested lemon (or more, to taste), pour in the cream, and pulse it until well mixed in your food processor. Pour this in a bowl, cover, and let it thoroughly chill in the fridge for a few hours.
So now, both of the custards should be thoroughly chilled. Following the directions for your ice cream maker, churn each (separately) for 20 minutes and transfer them to the freezer.
Once both are churned, swirl them together right away before they fully firm up in the freezer (if you’re going for the swirly look, its a lot easier to pull off while the ice cream is still relatively soft). Let this sit in the freezer for several hours (I just do overnight). Serve a scoop with whatever catches your fancy–balsamic syrup, toasted walnuts, honey, or simply, none other than a fig. Whatever you do, enjoy!