This week is quickly working its way up the list as one of the worst in my lifetime. It’s meeting a lot of the criteria – vindictive college students stealing my parking spaces, dealing with incompetent people who are supposed to know about the technology they are selling me, GROUP PROJECTS. Seriously, this week I got stuck in a group where none of them (literally, none of them) knew how to speak enough English to communicate with me. By the time I finally said ‘fine, I’ll just do all of it, send me your research,’ they gave me about twelve hours to work on it before the project was due. I am honestly convinced that this week has knocked five years off my life. This all could have been avoided if I just didn’t get out of bed on Monday. Lesson learned.
It feels like the only good thing that has happened in the last twenty-four hours is this Maple, Brandy, and Fig Ice Cream. This tastes like a frozen fig newton, I kid you not. I felt like I was a little kid again, scarfing down fig newtons after school. I took my basic ice cream recipe and spruced it up for the holidays with maple syrup and brandy. More maple syrup and brandy are added to a dried fig purée that I spread between layers of the ice cream. I could have eaten all of that fig purée on its own with nothing but a spoon, but I controlled myself. It was pretty darn good mixed into that ice cream!
- 4 ounces dried Mission figs, stems trimmed
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brandy*
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine the figs and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the figs are tender. Transfer the figs and ½ cup of the cooking liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of brandy. Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the ice cream.
- Pour the heavy cream into a large, heatproof bowl and place over an ice bath. Place a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
- Combine the milk, sugar, remaining 1/3 cup of maple syrup, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, just until small bubbles form around the edges. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking until well combined. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the custard through the sieve and into the heavy cream. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of brandy and the vanilla extract. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Layer the ice cream in an airtight container, alternating the ice cream with the chilled fig mixture. Freeze for about 3 hours, until firm.
- *If you don't have brandy on hand, apple cider is a good substitute.