As summer ends, I've been eating figs as much as possible - for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One of my favorite recipes I've made to celebrate full fig flavor is this fig swirl ice cream. It'll cool you down during warm September days, but has a lingering warmth that reminds you of incoming fall.
The fig swirl retains that marvelous pop of fig seeds and winey, plush figgy flavor, which works so well against the backdrop of sweet, cold ice cream.
I was inspired by both of the fig ice creams made by The Bojon Gourmet and pastry studio, but used the ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, with a few changes along the way. —HogarthPress
In a small saucepan, combine the figs, sugar, cognac, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and salt.
Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. Then lower the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes or until thick and jammy. The mixture is done when the figs have broken down slightly and the cognac has reduced into a syrup. Stir the mixture occasionally with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
Let the mixture cool slightly and remove the peel and cinnamon stick.
Spoon out the mixture into a food processor or blender and process until the mixture (the figs and port syrup jam) is combined. It's fine if there are some chunks of fig.
Fresh Fig Swirl Ice Cream
In a small bowl, whisk together around 2 tablespoons of the milk and cornstarch together with a fork. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt until thoroughly combined.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the remaining milk along with the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes.
Take the mixture off heat briefly, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Return the pot to a boil and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. You can tell if the mixture is done by carefully running your finger (it's really hot!) on the custard coated on the back of the spoon. If there's a track left by your finger, the mixture is done cooking. Take off heat.
Pour in around 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining cream mixture.
Cool until room temperature, and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours until very cold, preferably overnight. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a large plastic bag, and submerge the bag in an ice bath for quicker chilling.
The next day, or whenever the base is cold, you can pour it through a strainer for a perfectly smooth ice cream, but it's not necessary. Stir in the cognac.
Place a large glass storage container in the freezer to chill.
Churn the base with your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
When done churning, spread approximately 1/3 of the ice cream into the container. Spoon 1/3 of the fig swirl puree all over the surface. Repeat with the remaining ice cream and fig puree. Swirl the top layer with a knife.
Freeze until the ice cream is set, approximately 4-6 hours depending on how cold your freezer it. The ice cream will keep for several weeks...if you can wait that long!