Fig Leaf, Honey & Olive Oil Ice Cream + Honey Roasted Figs

Glorious figs, with their short ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ season. They also don’t transport well, so unless you have a tree or access to a neighbourhood one, they can be hard to come by. Farmers’ markets at this time of year will have a number of stalls selling them in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can also be ordered online. 

We have a very large and old fig tree that grows on the border of our property and the riverbank. As well as providing fruit, it serves as shade for two beehives that a neighbour keeps on our property (hence the use of honey in the recipes below). We are unsure of the fig variety, as it was planted well before we moved in. But some research tells me that it is likely Brunswick due to its early season fruiting tendencies. 

It fruits earlier than most fig varieties, in late January, with an abundance of fist-sized fruit (I suspect it has its roots dipping into the river below). From these early figs, which can be quite prolific, I make batches of my favourite slow-cooked fig and lemon jam and fig chutney. Often by the time the tree finishes fruiting each year, and after processing many baskets of fruit, I don’t want to see another fig for a long time. However, by the time the main fig season comes around (around April), I am always happy to see them again as now is my time to simply enjoy cooking with figs. 

More Fig recipes on Homegrown Kitchen

I have shared quite a number of fig recipes over the years, here is a selection of my favourites. + Find more recipes here. 

Fig Leaf, Honey & Olive Oil Ice Cream

Fig leaf is an optional flavour addition, it is subtle but lovely. If you haven’t got access to a fig tree keep an eye out around your neighbourhood or at a community garden for a leaf sample. Still no luck? Fresh thyme can be used instead. The addition of olive oil to this ice cream is also something a little different. Choose a good-quality extra virgin oil for added flavour, or use a lighter-flavoured oil if preferred. It adds a smooth consistency to the ice cream acting as an emulsifier to reduce the formation of ice crystals. This is particularly helpful when not using an ice cream maker - I made the ice cream pictured without one and it was wonderfully creamy. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Freezing time 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) cream
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk (I used oat milk)
  • 1 small fig tree leaf or a sprig of thyme
  • 100 g (⅓ cup) mild honey
  • 3 egg yolks*
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • *the remaining egg whites can be stored in the fridge and used in baking within 5 days, or frozen in a named container for up to 3 months.

Instructions

  • Place the cream, milk and fig leaf (or thyme) into a saucepan. Heat over a low heat until the cream foams on the surface. Remove from the heat.
  • Put the honey into a small saucepan and heat until bubbling. Cook for another minute, swirling, until it turns a deep amber colour. Remove from the heat.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and olive oil until thick and emulsified. Slowly drizzle in the honey while whisking.
  • Remove the fig leaf (or thyme) from the cream and discard. Slowly pour the cream into the egg mixture, continuing to whisk. Return the custard to the pan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard lightly coats the back of the spoon - about 5 minutes.
  • Pour into a bowl and cool completely - this can be sped up by sitting the bowl in a larger bowl of cold water. Then cover and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until very cold.
  • Either use an ice cream maker to churn for about 20 minutes until thickened (check the user manual for exact timing). Then tip into a freezer-safe dish and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Or, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the chilled custard into a freeze-safe dish. Freeze for 1 hour then whisk the custard vigorously to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this step twice more with an hour in between, then freeze for at least 4 hours until solid.
  • To serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving to soften for easier scooping. Serve with roasted figs (or pears) and stovetop crumble (see recipe below).
  • The ice cream can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to a month.

Honey Roasted Figs with Stovetop Crumble

If you don’t have access to fresh figs, pears can also be used in this recipe: opt for varieties such as Buerre Bosc or Packham for good texture once cooked. The honey-roasted figs can also be added to a salad of rocket or radicchio, shaved pecorino, and chopped hazelnuts. Dress with a splash of mellow sherry vinegar and olive oil. 
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6-8 figs, about 500g
  • 2 tbsp mild honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • Pinch of salt

Stovetop Hazelnut Crumble

  • ½ cup (75g) hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
  • cup (40g) rolled oats (or ground almonds)
  • 30 g (about 2 tbsp) butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC (fan 180ºC).
  • Halve the figs and place them into a small baking dish. Drizzle over the honey - warming in a small saucepan if it is thick - and olive oil. Scatter with small sprigs of thyme and a pinch of salt.
  • Roast for 15-20 minutes until the figs have softened and the cooking juices collect in the base of the dish.
  • Make the stovetop crumble. Place the hazelnuts and rolled oats (or ground almonds) into an unoiled frying pan. Toast for 5-6 minutes until the oats are golden. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook over the heat for another 5 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Tip into a serving bowl.
  • Divide the figs between bowls and drizzle over the cooking juices. Scatter with the crumble and serve with fig leaf ice cream (or good-quality vanilla ice cream), or thick yoghurt.

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