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
- 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
- Put the sugar in a saucepan with 500ml of water and the vanilla pod.
- Finely pare the lemon into 8 large strips – i.e. one strip for each fig (I do this with a potato peeler)
- Heat gently until all the sugar grains are dissolved then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- 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.
- Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and splash with the pastis while still hot.
- Reduce the syrup by half, pour over the figs and leave to cool.
For the ice cream
- Pour the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla pod sideways and scrape the seeds into the milk.
- Bring to the boil and take off the heat and infuse for about 30 minutes to extract the flavour from the vanilla
- Pour the cream into a large bowl enough to take the cream and the custard.
- 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.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until thick.
- Strain the custard through a sieve onto the cream and mix well – this will cool it down and stop the cooking process.
- 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.
- Finally transfer to a suitable plastic storage container and freeze for a couple of hours before using.
- 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.
- Blitz 5 or 6 of the poached figs in a liquidiser with some of the syrup and a little lemon juice.
- Add the mixture to the vanilla ice cream base. Check the taste and add more pastis and lemon juice if necessary.