There’s nothing like stating the bleeding obvious but you need a supply of fresh (and preferably freshly picked) fig leaves for this ice cream. To me, it positively sings of summer –the memory of swinging in my hammock under the fragrant fig tree in France is one of my happiest recollections. I might add that the pre-churned ice cream makes a fantastic custard which would compliment any crumble or steamed pudding.
For the caramelised almonds
50g flaked almonds
75g caster sugar
For the ice cream
6 fresh fig leaves, washed and dried
500ml double cream
400ml whole milk
5 large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
Heat the oven to 150°c, mark 2. Spread the almonds over a small baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden. Set aside. Put the caster sugar in a frying pan and warm over a low to moderate heat-without stirring- until the sugar dissolves and turns golden brown. You can carefully swirl the pan to ensure the sugar caramelises evenly. Add the almonds and stir to coat the nuts with the caramel, heating a little longer if they crystallise. Pour onto a baking tray lined with non-stick parchment and leave to harden. Once hard, put the nuts into a plastic bag and bash gently with a rolling pin to create a granola-like mix. Set aside.
For the ice cream, chop the fig leaves and put in a saucepan with the double cream. Place over a gentle heat and bring to just below boiling point. Set aside to infuse for one hour. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the leaves then discard. Add the milk and bring to just below boiling point.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar. Pour the hot milk and cream over the egg yolks and whisk. Pour back into the pan (having wiped it out if the milk mixture has caught on the base) and stir over a gentle heat until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 75-77°c). Cool quickly – I stand the saucepan in a sink filled with about 5 cm cold water. Once the custard is cool churn in an ice cream maker or pour into a container and freeze until just frozen around the edges. Scrape into a food processor and blend until smooth. Repeat twice then freeze the ice cream until hard.
Swirl the caramelised nuts into the ice cream and freeze until hard.