Fig gelato will become the new flavor of summer all year long. In season, many Italian gelaterias use fresh figs. Dried figs are more reliable and give gelato an even more intense flavor. If you’ve ever wondered how is gelato made, read on.
Gelato or Ice Cream — What’s the Difference
Many ice creams start with an eggy custard base that also includes heavy cream. Gelato, on the other hand leans more on milk than cream and sometimes does not include eggs, so the resulting dessert is not as heavy. Also, typically gelato is churned more slowly yielding less air incorporated into the luxuriously creamy texture. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen teaches a few fun tricks for making a new summer favorite.
Full of Figgy Flavor
Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs make this frozen dessert take center stage. While you can certainly use Mission Dried Figs (that would be particularly good around the holidays as an a la mode topping for pecan pie or pumpkin pie), we particularly love the mild nutty sweetness our Golden Dried Figs bring. If you toast or even candy pecans, you could easily take the Golden Fig Gelato into fall and winter too. This recipe first directs you to rehydrate the figs, giving the plump hydrated figs greater malleability for best infusion.
Infuse and You Can’t Lose
Dairy is an amazing conductor of flavor through one simple process: infusion. Heating the milk and cream to 175F and stirring in the dried figs brings all that fig flavor into the dairy so that even after the figs are strained out what you have is a deep fig flavor and smooth creamy texture.
Creamy Golden Fig Gelato
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs minced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 egg yolks large
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 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.)