Fig and Balsamic Ice Cream

I've had some unsuccessful attempts at making ice cream. I blame myself for the majority of these failures (if one can refer to them as such... can something that has cream and sugar in it be bad?).  My mistake has always been that I've made ice cream in the middle of summer. Now, that might make perfect sense to you folks, but when you keep your apartment at 76 degrees on a balmy day, well, things aren't likely to freeze very easily. I think my ice cream maker was having issues too. So, between those two things, the stuff wasn't turning out the way I'd hoped.

Anyway, I decided recently that I'm not giving up. Nope. In fact, I want to start making ice cream on a regular basis. Maybe not every week, but once or twice a month (I think it might be time to get back into that gym routine).  I may not post every success on here, but given how good this turned out, I thought it'd be wrong to keep it to myself. Despite my obsession with Jeni's Ice Cream and her beautiful book (which, shockingly, has sat on my book shelf, virtually untouched for two years.  Well, let me tell you, that book has now found a permanent place in our kitchen.


Fig and Balsamic Ice Cream

(ice cream base from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer)


For the Fig-Balsamic Sauce 1 cup figs, stems removed and fruit quartered 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Ice Cream 2 cups whole milk 4 teaspoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/4 cup heavy cream 2/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons light corn syrup


1. To prepare the fig and balsamic sauce, add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Once the figs begin to soften, use a wooden spoon to break up the pieces.  When the sauce begins to thicken, remove from heat and let cool while you make the ice cream base.

2. To make the ice cream, start by stirring together the milk and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Set this slurry aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt.

3. Prepare a large bowl of ice and water.

4. Combine the rest of the milk, as well as the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the corn starch slurry.  Bring back to a boil over and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

5. At this point, slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Carefully pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

6.Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the base is finished, add the ice cream to a storage container, alternating between the base and the fig and balsamic sauce.  Press a sheet of parchment directly on the surface of the ice cream and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.