Fig season is so frustratingly short, and my supply that was plentiful last year was decidedly less so this year. They’re one of those fruits that I absolutely love – but there’s no way I’d pay $2 each for them. So unless I scam some from a friend with a tree, I go without. Begrudgingly. This year I only really got to make 2 fig dishes – the Brie Cheesecake (Briesecake?!?) and this one. Fig and ginger is a great pairing. Sweet, sticky figs paired with the hot bite of crystalised ginger is a match made in taste bud heaven. As a fancy appetiser, a fig half with a dollop of goat’s cheese, a few slices of crystalised ginger and a little prosciutto is so amazing. Or the same ingredients as a salad with some peppery rocket and maybe some toasted hazelnuts? Fabulous!
I decided to make this as an ice cream because of a competition. It was to win a kick-arse blender, because my one is a little sad and I really want a commercial grade one, without you know, paying for one. You had to answer what dish you would first make with your blender. And my answer was macadamia milk ice cream with fig and ginger. I’m not sure where the idea came from, other than the fact that you need a blender to make nut milks. And to make it more interesting, I turned it into ice cream. And to make it more exciting, I added fig and ginger. I didn’t win the blender, but I did win because I dreamed up an awesome ice cream. I swapped to hazelnuts because macadamias were more expensive at the time, and I’m quite a big fan of hazelnuts. Use the leftover hazelnut pulp to make protein balls, or dry out and use as a meal in baking.
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
(makes about 1L)4 cups water (1L)
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup raw hazelnuts
6 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
8 small figs, halved
50g crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
Soak the hazelnuts for 4 hours (or overnight) in the water. Blend well, then strain through cheesecloth or a clean chux to separate the ‘milk’ from the pulp.
Bring the hazelnut milk to a simmer over medium heat in a saucepan (do not boil, or it will separate). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thickened, at least 2 minutes. Pour the hazelnut milk into the egg mix in a thin stream, whisking as you go. When completely combined, pour back into the saucepan and cook, stirring for around 5 minutes, or until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold.
Brush each fig half with a little honey on the cut side and pop on a tray in a 160C oven, roasting until softened and caramelly. Remove and allow to completely cool.
Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions, then freeze in an airtight container for a further 2-4 hours to firm up