Fig Dreams

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We thought our fig trees were completely dead this spring. Last winter gave us a string of really cold days with high temps in the low teens. Not good fig weather. Even my sister gave them little hope when we looked at all the spring green leaves and pretty wild flowers with the dead sticks of a large fig tree dominating the landscape. But I waited and I waited and one day a little green leaf appeared, then another and finally many of the branches had a spot of green. Lots of limbs had to be cut back – but all in all it’s a survivor.

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I never knew anyone with a fig tree when I was growing up in Nashville, but when I went to college in Memphis it was obvious that fig trees were not unusual. It didn’t take long to figure out that Memphis was hot as…. well, really hot, so I just assumed it was just a “figgy” kind of climate. When I moved back home and fig trees started showing up in plant nurseries, it was just too hard to resist. We have two. They’ve died back a couple of times, but always returned. This summer is proving to be a good one for figs. They don’t all get ripe at once, which is nice because every day there are a few more to pick. My son’s girlfriend loves figs and we were thinking of all the fun things we could make. In this blog’s recipe list, you’ll find fig pizza, bruschetta, crostata, pasta… lots of fig dishes. She said she would love fig and goat cheese ice cream. That did sound pretty good. Tangy goat cheese, and honey as the sweetener plus maybe some cream – yum. 

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This is really a five-ingredient ice cream without eggs making it extra creamy. Here is the truth – I wasn’t willing to throw my precious figs into ice cream where they could be lost -so milk, cream, goat cheese, honey and fig preserves make up the ingredient list. The cream and milk are heated just enough to melt the goat cheese and incorporate the honey and then cooled down to go in the ice cream freezer. When the mixture was almost ready, the fig preserves are added and there you are – Fig, Honey and Goat Cheese Ice Cream. It was topped with fresh figs from the tree, but honestly, I would happily make and serve this without the figs on top in the dead of winter when a fresh fig is as hard to find as a truffle. It may sound sort of exotic, but it’s just so easy, so delicious, and so refreshing - it is definitely on our favorite ice cream list. I’m not sure I would have thought of it without a little recipe dreaming on the part of my son and his girlfriend, but recipe dreaming is where the best dishes come from. Try this easy dreamy ice cream recipe. You’ll love it! Enjoy!

Fig, Honey, and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

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2 cups cream

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

½ cup honey

4 oz goat cheese

½ cup fig preserves

Optional: fresh figs for garnish


Heat cream, milk, and honey over low heat until steaming but not boiling.

Remove from heat, add goat cheese and stir to melt.

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Cool in the fridge or freezer until cold enough for go into and ice cream freezer.*

Freeze according to directions.

When ice cream is almost ready add fig preserves.

Serve with fresh figs if desired.

*Ice cream freezers are readily available online at very reasonable prices. My South Carolina Cousin – who had never made ice cream - ordered one a few weeks ago and is now putting Baskin Robbins to shame. I’m not a fan of tons of kitchen equipment, but this is definitely a gadget we love.

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