It's early September, the days are still sunny, but the light is golden and the air is crisp. Likewise, this ice cream is a medley of summer and fall, with sweet black figs swirled into a frozen milk and cream base. For the ice cream, I used a variation on the amazing Jeni's ice cream base that you can find on Food52 (here: https://food52.com/blog...). She uses a mixture of milk, cream and cream cheese which makes it extra creamy. I substituted the cream cheese with ricotta (figs and ricotta! the perfect couple), and I used honey in place of the light corn syrup. The figs are roasted with honey and a tad of butter. —Silvia Merler
Advanced preparations: 24 hours before you plan to make the ice cream, wash the ice cream canister, dry it well, place it in the freezer. Do not remove it until the very last moment, you want it to be as cold as possible.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Cut off the stem of the fig, and In a baking cut the into quarters halve from top to bottom but without cutting through the base (you want them to be able to sit in an upright position, see picture above). Place them upright into a baking dish, cut 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter them over the figs. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey on over the figs and butter, and roast for about 15 minutes. You should get a golden and bubbly sauce. Once the figs have cooled, you can reduce them to smaller pieces. In fact, larger pieces will tend to form frozen chunks in your ice cream, so I found that the smaller the pieces the better.
Prepare the ice-cream base. In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. In a medium bowl, add the salt and ricotta, mixing well. Pour milk, cream, sugar, and honey into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it go for 4 minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the cornstarch slurry to the ice cream base in the pan. Incorporate the hot cream mixture into the ricotta, a little bit at a time, whipping out any lumps cheese. Let the ice cream base cool completely, then put in the fridge for a couple of hours.
When you are ready to freeze, pour the chilled base into the ice cream machine and turn it on. The freezing process will take at least 20 minutes, but ideally you should end it the moment you see the machine is not freezing the ice cream anymore and the ice cream will begin to pull away from the sides.
When finished, transfer to a storage container swirling in the figs. Start by putting some of the fig mixture on the bottom of the container, then alternate layers of ice cream and fruit, creating pockets with the sauce. End with one layer of fig mixture, then freeze until firm, i.e. about 4 hours. To serve, let the ice cream thaw for 10 minutes before you scoop.