10.29.15

There’s nothing as decadent as a basket of fresh figs… and since we’re at the tail end of the season, we had our eyes peeled for one last spectacular way to use this luscious fruit.

Claire Ptak, the world-class baker behind London’s obsession-worthy cake shop and cafe, Violet Bakery (Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver are both fans!) shares our love of the fig and is sharing this gorgeous recipe with us from the pages of her new cookbook, The Violet Bakery Cookbook.

Claire’s cookbook is packed with wholesome, indulgent, and seasonal treats, this fig leaf ice cream being a prime example. Get a load of this dreamy and unusual ice cream that uses both fig leaves and the figs themselves. Here’s Claire…

Fig trees can be found in many back gardens in London and often overflow onto the street. Seldom do the figs turn into much. The fruit tends to stay underripe throughout the season, unless the fig tree has the good fortune to grow inside a walled garden that provides it with much-needed warmth. This suits me just fine, because I am mostly interested in those large green fragrant leaves. For a wedding rehearsal dinner for two of our most regular customers, Rick and Caroline, my friend, chef Joe Trivelli, prepared a wonderful Italian Irapinian menu and I made this ice cream with roasted fig leaves.

NOTE: You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.

The Violet Bakery’s Fig Leaf Ice Cream

Ingredients

For the ice cream:
10 new spring fig leaves
1½ cups whole milk
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
4 egg yolks
2¾ cups heavy cream

For the roasted black figs:
1 fig leaf (if available)
6 ripe black figs (If you can’t find black figs, green figs are fine)
a little sweet or light red wine
sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

For the ice cream:
Preheat your broiler on high. Lay the fig leaves out flat on a baking sheet. Place the pan on the highest rack in your broiler and leave the door ajar. After a few minutes you will start to smell the wonderful heady aroma of the fig leaves warming up and then starting to singe under the flame. Let them take on a little bit of color before you take them out.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, warm the milk, sugar, and fig leaves until just beginning to bubble. This won’t take too long, so while it’s heating up, put your egg yolks into a bowl and whisk to break them up. Measure the cream into a large container or bowl and set aside.

When the milk is ready, temper the yolks by pouring a little of the milk into them, whisking as you go. Now pour the tempered yolks back into the remaining warm milk in the pan. Stirring continuously, heat until the mixture starts to thicken at the bottom of the pan, checking it now and again by bringing your stirring spoon up out of the pan. Pour the custard mixture into the cold cream and whisk well to prevent the custard from cooking any farther. Cover and put in the fridge for a least 1 hour to cool.

Once the ice cream base has cooled, pour it through a fine sieve to remove the leaves and any eggy bits. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in the freezer for 1 hour before serving. This will keep for 3 to 4 days in the freezer before it starts to get icy.

For the roasted black figs:

Preheat the oven to 355°F (320°F convection).
If you have a lovely fresh fig leaf, place it in the bottom of a roasting pan that is just big enough to hold the figs. Cut the tough stems off the figs and discard, then cut the figs into quarters. Place the figs skin side down on top of the fig leaf or in the bottom of your roasting pan. Sprinkle the figs generously with wine and then lightly sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the figs are soft and starting to brown along the edges. Serve with Fig Leaf Ice Cream and drizzle with any juices from the bottom of the pan.

Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


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