Make it. Eat it. Love it.
It is summer already here in the Middle East. That means it’s hot. Not hot like you may think though; imagine if you lived on the surface of the sun. It’s hot like that. We are inching toward days of 105F and above with a strong desert sun and no shade anywhere, with lows in the middle of the night of 95F. Is this even normal to live in an almost uninhabitable climate? No, probably not. But, I do.
Sometimes ice cream is the only solace other than water during these hot summer months. Problem is this: you go to the macholet (bodega) and you pick an ice cream bar out of the freezer, you walk to the register to pay, you turn and open the ice cream eagerly awaiting the sweet cold creaminess and it’s melted. Already. True story.
I thought that the only way to solve this problem was to make my own ice cream. So that is exactly what I did and I did it sans ice cream maker and it came out pretty good if I don’t say so myself. It was rich and creamy and perfect. Who needs an ice cream machine? (OK I do miss mine that’s back in the states, but still, who needs one?) Since this worked so well my husband and I have already been dreaming up different ice creams to make! Oh boy!
Green figs are in season in Be’er Sheva. When I first saw them I thought they were just unripe and then I felt one, it was very far from unripe. They are called Kadota figs and have a bright green outside with a rosy colored flesh and are not as sweet as your normal black mission fig.
I wanted to use the figs for something. Something good, something special since this Kadota fig season is very short. I thought about grilling them and stuffing them with mascarpone cheese. Yum. But I wanted ice cream and so going with the figs and mascarpone idea, mascarpone ice cream with caramelized figs was born.
I used David Lebovitz’s tips for making creaming ice cream without a machine and a basic vanilla ice cream recipe that I added mascarpone cheese to for a rich taste and thick creamy texture. The caramelized figs just complete this ice cream. It is perfect for the hot Be’er Sheva days ahead.
Ingredients (serves 4)
For ice cream:
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 1/8 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
9 ounces mascarpone cheese
For caramelized figs:
3 Kadota figs, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon butter
Place the milk and vanilla in a sauce pan over a low heat and slowly bring it to a simmer then remove it from the heat.
In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until combined.
Add hot milk to egg mixture gradually and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
Return the mixture to saucepan and place it over a low heat
Cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon
When mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon remove from heat and cool completely. (Be careful not to overheat the milk -you don not want to end up with scrambled egg bits!)
Meanwhile make the figs.
Place sugar and lemon juice into a large pan with 1 tablespoon water.
Mix the sugar and liquid until mixture is like wet sand.
Cook over high heat until mixture boils.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until sugar starts to turn medium brown.
Remove from heat and add figs and 1 tablespoon water and stir.
Return pan to heat and cook over low heat until mixture is bubbling and figs start to break down, about 10 minutes.
Mix in butter and let cool.
When the ice cream mixture has cooled mix in the mascarpone cheese until combined.
Beat ice cream mixture with an electric hand mixer to combine throughly and get some air into the mixture.
Place mixture in a sealed container and place it in the freezer for 45 minutes then remove from freezer, mix in figs and any sauce in the pan.
Return to the freezer and take it out and stir it every 30 minutes for 2 hours. This mixing part is very important to get that creamy ice cream constancy. Mix ice cream very well to break up any ice crystals that are forming. You don’t want ice cream little bits of ice in it!
Freeze until ready to serve.