Endless Ice Cream: Fig and Candied Walnut

I never ate a fig that wasn’t in Newton form until I was 28. Then, I picked up a pint for a dollar while grocery shopping one warm October evening. I gingerly bit into 0ne (it was oozing and I was scared), and proceeded to inhale the whole pint in about 30 seconds.  I love figs. I dream about them when autumn rolls around and I can anticipate their arrival at the supermarket. But in the meantime, I’ll settle for this ice cream. Dried Black Mission figs are simmered and pureed with a bit of hard liquor (which keeps it from freezing solid). Walnuts are candied with butter and brown sugar, then chopped and added to a creamy custard-based ice cream. The fig puree in swirled in at the end. A quart of this in the freezer should help tide me over till fig season.

Fig and Candied Walnut Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart


For the fig puree:

  • 2 cups/12 oz/350 g dried Black Mission figs, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons/1 oz/25 g sugar
  • 1 cup/8 oz/225 ml water
  • 3 tablespoons/1.5 oz/40 ml of hard liquor (rum, vodka or bourbon will work)

For the custard base:

  • 1 cup/8 oz/225 ml half-and-half or whole milk
  • 3/4 cup/5.5 oz/150 g sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups/16 oz/550 heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks (set 1 egg white aside for the candied walnuts)

For the candied walnuts:

  • 1 cup/3.5 oz/100 g shelled walnuts (my bag said ‘walnut meats’ HA)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt


First make the fig puree:

  1. Put the dried figs, sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. Cover the pan and let sit for 20 minutes. Puree the figs and water in a blender or food processor with the liquor until no chunks remain. (You can then press the mixture through a sieve for a smoother texture). I like the crunch of the seeds so I did not. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the custard base:

  1. Place the heavy cream in a medium bowl placed over an ice bath. Place a mesh strainer over the bowl.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, dissolve the sugar and salt in the milk or half-and-half. When fully dissolved, slowly drizzle the mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the milk-egg mix to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.
  3. Pour the heated custard mix through the mesh strainer into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice bath until cooled. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make the candied walnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Toss the walnuts in the egg white until coated. Add the salt and sugar and toss some more.  Spread over a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Cool and then roughly chop them. Cover and store in a cool, dry place.

To assemble:

  1. Churn the custard according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Toss the candied walnuts in during the last couple minutes of churning. Scrape the ice cream into a shallow, freezer-friendly container. Gently fold in the fig puree. Cover with plastic wrap and an airtight lid. Freeze up to two months.


Find all of our ice cream recipes in Endless Ice Cream

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  • Miss K May 22, 2012  

    I don’t own an ice cream maker, but every time I read one of your posts, I wonder why that is.

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch May 22, 2012  

    Oh my, this looks like it will be in my very near future! Love fig ice cream and with the candied walnut, it has to be out of this world!

  • Alison May 22, 2012  

    Wowza. This reminds me of maple walnut ice cream…which I love. With the addition of FIGS? I love it even more. I cannot WAIT to make this, and coincidentally, I got a bag of dried figs in my CSA basket last week!

  • erica May 22, 2012  

    you don’t need an ice cream maker to make ice cream

    (i’m totally doing this one of these days).

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