It’s a funny time of year, not autumn, not summer, hot and sticky but the leaves are falling from the trees. Strangely London has been consistently balmy and warm and this has thrown me into a culinary conundrum , I am all at sea as to what I want to cook and what to eat. Unbelievably, and rather shockingly ice cream mode is still in force, the pink and blue demanding regular hits, which brings me happily on to the ‘sweetest fig ice cream’, made a few weeks ago on the heavenly island of Pantelleria. Where the wind blows strong from North Africa one could be mistaken into thinking nothing delicate and complex could grow, but Pantelleria has a unique garden and figs are just one of the many delicacies that we foraged and feasted on. As for what we drank have a look at http://www.thehappydecanter.com for an encyclapeadic run down as to what to quench your thirst with on this fair isle!
Figs are a sexy little fruit. They smell intoxicating, look divine and are prettily painted in every subtle shade of purple and mauve to olive-green and sage. On an island such as Pantelleria the air is thick with the scent of them, it rests heavily in the August heat and blows on the breeze so one is never far away from their sweet invitation. I adore them, reaching through the tough, sandpaper like leaves to the bounty is real nectar for me. Bursting at their seams, dripping with sugar syrup, these were the figs I was after for my ice cream. Almost alcoholic in taste they were so heavy they could barely stay on the tree a moment longer and hence were the perfect specimens to whizz up into my mascarpone ice cream. Topped with roasted chopped almonds and a drizzle of ‘Passito di Pantelleria’ this is my kind of pudding. It’s probably going to be hard to replicate back in Blighty as I’m missing a few crucial ingredients, sun-baked figs for one, but the mascarpone ice cream is certainly worth making just by its’ lonesome self!
Fresh Fig and Mascarpone Ice Cream with roasted almonds and Passito di Pantelleria
1 cup of caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
1 lemon – about 3 tablespoons of juice
1 1/2 cups of mascarpone
10 oozingly ripe fresh figs
100 grms of whole, skin on almonds, roasted till golden
Passito di Pantelleria (optional)
1. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes. Now add the lemon juice and let it cool to room temperature.
2. Wash the figs and liquidise (skin and all) until you have a ‘smoothish’ puree.
3. Add the figs, syrup and the mascarpone together, stir thoroughly and place in an ice cream maker and churn. Alternatively freeze in small containers but remember to fork through regularly, every 15 minutes, until well set and frozen.
4. Serve within 48 hours of making with chopped almonds and a splattering of ‘Passito di Pantelleria’.
http://www.thehappydecanter.com has more details on what ‘Passito’ to drink.