Last weekend I was lucky enough to pick fresh figs off the trees on a wine farm in the area. Leipzig Wine Farm is situated in a beautiful area with mountains and views all around. It is situated in the Nuy Valley outside Worcester in the Western Cape. They have a fig orchard on the farm, and they opened it up to the public to go and pick to your heart’s content.
I love figs (have I mentioned that before?), so I jumped at the opportunity!
As you can see, a beautiful place! And what about the sexy scarecrow on the bottom left? As far as I could see, she was not doing a very good job of scaring the birds away! 😀
So, now I had 2 kg of figs. Heaven. But those of you who know figs, also know that they go from firm to soggy as quick as you can say ‘fig!” I did climb into them and ate a lot while they were still fresh and firm, but yesterday I found myself with a bowl full of far from firm figs. (See what I did there? 😉 ) I had to make a plan. I came up with cinnamon and sugar roast figs. Or rather Pinterest did…
Yum! It was gooooood… A first for me. I’ve had figs fresh off the tree, as jam, whole figs in syrup, dried figs, but never roast figs. I will do it again. I have some left over still, maybe I’ll make some custard to go with the rest of them this evening…
That is not to say that I never eat dessert. I would rather have a starter and a main, than a main and a dessert. I do, however, sometimes order a little somethin’ sweet when we go out, but then it has to be an unusual dessert, something you won’t make and eat at home. Or when we are invited for dinner, I’ll have dessert.
At home I’ve got tons of recipes, and I’ve tried a lot of them, but I normally make my “go to’s”, of which there is a handful.
At Christmas I thought I’ll make a little bit more of an effort, and since we have seriously hot weather over December, and I’ve canned some cherries shortly before, I searched for a good old fashioned ice cream recipe. I do not have an ice cream maker, but I decided to give a traditional recipe a try anyway.
And we were all glad I did! It came out beautifully, and was an absolute hit with the cherries. I took it out of the freezer when it was more than halfway frozen, and whisked it all up until smooth again, and put it back to freeze. It was possibly not quite as smooth as it would have been had I used an ice cream maker, but it was good enough for us!
Unfortunately not the best picture I’ve ever taken, but I was probably in a hurry to start eating! Or blame it on the champagne, I don’t mind! 😉
The recipe I used was from Pinterest, from the blog of homemadefoodjunkie.com. I tweaked it for countries that use the metric system.
VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM
500 ml whole milk
500 ml heavy cream
250 ml granulated sugar
1.5 ml salt
1 whole vanilla bean-halved and seeds scraped
5 large egg yolks
7.5 ml pure vanilla extract
In a large pot whisk together milk, cream, half of the sugar, salt and the scraped vanilla bean, including the pod. Bring the mixture just barely to a boil whisking constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
Next combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a separate medium bowl with an electric mixer on low, until yolks are thick and pale yellow.
Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture slowly into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add another 1/3 of the milk mixture and whisk until blended. Add remaining milk mixture into the yolks and mix.
Return it all to the pot and set on low heat.
With a wooden spoon, stir the pot until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to boil it! (You will end up with scrambled eggs instead of custard.)
The thickening process should take just a few minutes.
Pour the custard mixture through a fine mesh strainer (discard the vanilla pod) and bring down to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight – until THOROUGHLY chilled to refrigerator temperature!
Follow your ice cream mixer directions and freeze until soft set. Five minutes before the mixer is done churning add in your favorite nuts, berries and candies as desired.
Freeze finished ice cream for several hours or until it’s hardened to your desired consistency.
And of course, if you are very industrious, you could make a pavlova with the egg whites left over from the ice cream, which I actually did this time! Yay me! But I forgot to take a picture… 🤦🏼♀️ I love pavlova with cream and fresh fruit (strawberries this time) – the combination of the sweet meringue, with the rich cream and slightly sour fruit is a winner every time. We had the pav on Christmas eve, and the cherries and ice cream after lunch on Christmas day.
Do you have a sweet tooth or not? And what is your favourite dessert?