Fig in pastis with fig ice cream

A recipe from Stephen Markwick

Stephen used to get his figs from a lady in Bristol whose fig tree produced amazing fat juicy figs around the end of August. This is what he did with them

Serves 8


  • 450g caster sugar
  • ¼ vanilla pod
  • 8 large fresh figs
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 50ml pastis (Ricard by preference)

For the vanilla ice cream base

  • 600ml milk
  • 7 medium egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 700ml double cream


For the figs

  1. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 500ml of water and the vanilla pod.
  2. Finely pare the lemon into 8 large strips – i.e. one strip for each fig (I do this with a potato peeler)
  3. Heat gently until all the sugar grains are dissolved then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Wipe the figs with a damp cloth. Then poach them in the syrup until soft. This will take about 10 minutes depending on their size and ripeness.
  5. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and splash with the pastis while still hot.
  6. Reduce the syrup by half, pour over the figs and leave to cool.

For  the ice cream

  1. Pour the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla pod sideways and scrape the seeds into the milk.
  2. Bring to the boil and take off the heat and infuse for about 30 minutes to extract the flavour from the vanilla
  3. Pour the cream into a large bowl enough to take the cream and the custard.
  4. Now separate the eggs -you can save the whites for meringues. Beat the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy and then pour on the infused milk.
  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until thick.
  6. Strain the custard through a sieve onto the cream and mix well – this will cool it down and stop the cooking process.
  7. Leave until cool then churn the mixture in an ice cream machine (following the manufacturer’s instructions) or beat it with a mixer or in a food processor.
  8. Finally transfer to a suitable plastic storage container and freeze for a couple of hours before using.
  9. Take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15-20 minutes before serving to allow it to mellow and soften. All ice cream is best served not too cold.
  10. Blitz 5 or 6 of the poached figs in a liquidiser with some of the syrup and a little lemon juice.
  11. Add the mixture to the vanilla ice cream base. Check the taste and add more pastis and lemon juice if necessary.