Had you asked me last week what to do with fresh figs, I would’ve rattled off a few generic ideas. Had you asked me to describe the taste of a fresh fig, I would’ve said nothing at all, blushed a light shade of pink. It would’ve been embarrassing.
It’s true. I’ve never once had a fresh fig. And it pains me to admit that for the first half of my life, “fig” was that gooey brown filling in my beloved Newtons. The honest fruit wholly unintelligible save its crunchy little seeds. For all I knew, figs actually were a paste.
Fig season is winding down in Florida, which means big, big sales. There are so many varietals I need two hands to count. An array of delicate skins varying from deep purplish-brown to yellow to a bright neon green that seems as if it could glow in the dark.
As you can see above, we splurged. On four pounds. Each type a new delight. Centers tinged strawberry pink or light buttery yellow. Floral, lemony and sweet, or rich and mildly reminiscent of honey and maple syrup. I will be powerless forever against them.
So go on. Ask me what to do with fresh figs.
Put together a fig and pecan frangipane tart. Altogether outstanding, but the pecan frangipane — out of my inability to part with the roasted almonds — is a revelation.
Halve figs and bake at the lowest temperature for two hours, then leave in the closed oven overnight. Sticky, sticky sweets! Eat as is, chop and drop into steel cut oats, pair with aged crumbly Pecorino and Port, slice over toast and drizzle with honey.
A bravura pie to stimulate all your senses is Bon Appetit’s fig and sausage pizza with feta and pomegranate molasses-cumin dressing
Move over rumaki and devils on horseback. Make way for sumptuous and sultry bacon-wrapped figs
Soft, almost fluffy and refreshing fig ice cream, fig ice cream, fresh fig ice cream
Hurry, while the figs last!
Fresh Fig Ice Cream [makes about 3 cups]
2 lbs fresh figs, washed (about 20) — David recommends Black Mission figs for a deep purple color; our blend of Black Mission, Calimyrna and Kadota gave us a pinky hue
1/2 c water
3/4 c sugar
1 c heavy cream
1/2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
Stem figs and cut each into 8 pieces. Place figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly on top. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Removed the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Once cool, puree the fig paste in a blender or food processor with the cream and lemon juice. Taste, then add more lemon juice if desired.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
From David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop