Make Ahead

Whey and Honey-Spiced Fig Ice Cream

August 21, 2012
4 Ratings
  • Makes about a quart
Author Notes

Since discovering Jenny's fresh ricotta last year, I've been an ardent fan and rather obsessive maker of it. Most weeks, there's a fresh batch in my fridge, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is with lightly-spiced poached figs and their syrup. I also really enjoy using the whey which is great and useful in so many ways. This ice cream combines the use of whey with my favorite fig-ricotta snack.
The first step is to make a simple, only lightly-sweetened egg-custard ice cream base. While it's chilling, poach the figs in a spiced honey liquid, remove them and reduce the liquid to a syrup. After the ice cream base has spent some time in an ice cream maker, you pour in the syrup and then just before the ice cream is done, some of the poached figs. Save the rest for a gorgeous garnish.
This is one of the best ice creams I've ever had!
**You'll need an ice cream maker for the smoothest results.
**The egg-custard base needs to chill for at least 4 hours before going into the ice cream maker, so plan accordingly. —em-i-lis

What You'll Need
  • For the ice cream base
  • ¾ cups whey (leftover from making fresh ricotta), or 2% milk
  • ¾ cups heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • rounded ¼ cup unrefined, granulated sugar
  • ? teaspoons almond extract
  • ? teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the poached figs, and putting it all together
  • 12 smallish fresh figs
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 3 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 5 allspice berries, gently cracked
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined, granulated sugar
  • tablespoons honey
  • ½ cups water
  1. For the ice cream base
  2. Into a 2-quart saucepan, pour the whey and cream. Heat over medium-high heat until scalded (the milk starts to bubble up around the sides), temp ~170. Immediately remove from heat, add the extracts, and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, put the egg yolks and rounded ¼ c of sugar. Using a hand mixer (or whisk if you’re feeling intrepid), beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, a couple minutes. Very slowly, pour in a tablespoon or two of your scalded whey-cream mixture, whisking earnestly the whole time. You need to temper the eggs so go slowly so they don’t scramble. Repeat a few more times, and then pour in the rest of the whey-cream. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface, and let cool to room temp. Then put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  1. For the poached figs, and putting it all together
  2. In a skillet just large enough to hold the figs in a single layer, place the figs and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, the black pepper, cracked allspice berries, sugar and honey. Gently pour the water over, and turn the heat on to medium-high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat to a good simmer, and poach the figs for 6-8 minutes, until they’re soft but not cracking. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and let the syrup reduce until you have about ¼ cup. Let cool for 10 or so minutes and then pour back over the figs. Cover and place them in the fridge.
  3. Set your ice cream maker up and pour in the custard mix. Remove the figs and syrup from the fridge and coarsely chop 8 of the figs. Set them aside. Five minutes before the ice cream is done, pour in all but 2 T of the fig syrup, and then, with 1-2 minutes left, pour in the chopped figs.
  4. Taste the ice cream when the timer is up and if you want it a bit sweeter, add the rest of the syrup. If not, save it for drizzling over the ice cream when you serve it. Save the remaining figs for garnish. Put the ice cream in a freezer-safe container and freeze!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • fiveandspice
  • em-i-lis
  • hobnob

6 Reviews

hobnob August 23, 2012
This looks wonderful! I love anything fig, and I'm especially intrigued by the use of whey. I often have a lot of extra whey and never once thought of using it for making ice cream. I can't wait to try it!
em-i-lis August 23, 2012
Thank you so much, hobnob. I really hope you enjoy it!! Great in a sugar cone!
fiveandspice August 23, 2012
Oh, how I love figs in ice cream! And what a creative (and I'm sure delicious) flavoring for the base. Yum.
em-i-lis August 23, 2012
thanks, 5&S! i am definitely enjoying it!! how was your move?
fiveandspice August 23, 2012
Still in process (erp.). Joel builds furniture as a hobby, and I accumulate dishes, so packing is quite the process. We pack the truck this weekend, and then drive for a couple of days! We're hoping to roll in to our new place late next Tuesday night.
em-i-lis August 23, 2012
oh, wow. i can imagine the packing of furniture and china! :) how cool that J builds furniture. does he ever try to recreate old pieces? i have been looking for an old-fashioned (re: well made) demi-lune table for about 5 years! good luck!