California Fig Gelato

andrew@bytejockeyz.comDesserts, Recipes

California Fig Gelato

Servings 8 servings



  • Place the figs and 3/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the figs are tender and the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and cook, stirring often, until it dissolves. Add the milk and cream and heat until the mixture registers 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Meanwhile, beat the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks in a medium bowl, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture turns pale yellow and thickens so that it falls in ribbons, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high or 4 minutes with a whisk.
  • Remove about 1/2 cup hot milk-cream mixture from the pan and slowly whisk it into the beaten yolk mixture. Gradually whisk the thinned yolk mixture into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and bring the mixture to 180 degrees, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. The custard should be thick but not curdled or boiled.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat; pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a non-reactive bowl or container; discard the figs. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water to bring the custard to room temperature.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the custard registers 40 degrees or lower, 4 to 8 hours. (Custard may be refrigerated over-night.) Stir in the vanilla extract and pour the custard into an ice cream machine. Churn until frozen but still a bit soft. (Do not over process, or the gelato may become icy, with flecks of butter.) Transfer the gelato to a non-reactive container, seal, and freeze until firm. (Gelato will keep for up to 2 days.)


In season, many Italian gelaterias use fresh figs. Dried figs are more reliable and give gelato an even more intense flavor. Light brown Calimyrna figs work especially well in this recipe.
Recipe source: America’s Test Kitchen. Valley Fig is a proud sponsor of the America’s Test Kitchen.
Photo Annelies Zijderveld

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!