A super creamy (not an icy mouthful in sight!) cashew and coconut based vegan and gluten-free ice-cream recipe – swirls of fresh fig compote and bourbon caramel sauce are rippled through a simple vanilla ice-cream base, creating a dreamy frozen treat to send off Summer and welcome Autumn in all it's cosy glory.
Ah figs, glorious figs. What is it about a fig that makes them so cherished, that creates such obsession?! Perhaps it's their relatively short season (actually seasons as there is one very short season at the beginning of summer and one larger season in late summer / early autumn). Or perhaps their charming and unique good looks, the vibrant pink-red seeded center and dusky purple skin looking like perfect little oil paintings, pulled straight from mythology from the tables of the Greek Gods.
Their sweet and floral exotic flavour are like nothing else, refined even. And seeing that little teardrop of syrup at the bottom of a particularly soft fruit, that tells you that the fig is ripe and waiting for you to feast upon, always lifts my mood and makes the Sunday morning market trip worth every lost sleep-in hour.
They are however, at least around these parts, relatively expensive (at $2 per fig, I still bought 10 over the weekend…I'm not even sorry, and it will be repeated this weekend without hesitation). I have so many things I want to do with them, my mind runs rampant with all the ideas.
It creates such excitement that I become so overwhelmed and end up just eating them as they are, or on toast for breakfast with vanilla bean macadamia ricotta, a little maple and olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and crack or two of the pepper mill.
Or as a slightly more savoury version to serve as an appetiser / entrée with garlic rubbed sourdough, cashew cheese, maple, olive oil, finely chopped chives, and the usual sea salt and black pepper. I've been meaning to make these fig and dark chocolate cinnamon buns again too, from Laura at The First Mess shared on Baked The Blog – I made them last season at least 4 or 5 times and couldn't get enough. Soon!
For the time being though, I've managed to actually make TWO whole recipes with them so far, this delicious figgy pizza with swiss brown mushrooms and herbed cashew cheese, and this seriously good ice-cream that makes me feel as though I just fell into a pile of Autumn leaves – that's how Autumnal it tastes (and looks)!
It's some serious ice-cream, with ribbons of caramelised fig compote and swirls of bourbon coconut caramel sauce, not to mention the dreamy vanilla base that is so goddamn creamy you would have no idea that it's made of cashews and coconut cream.
I've basically tried to create some kind of rough replica of this Burnt Fig, Honeycomb and Caramel Ice-Cream from Maggie Beer. It was my favourite back in my dairy and egg eating days, my guilty pleasure. I'd generally eat the round little tub of ice-cream in 1 – 2 sittings. It was insane. I'd end up sick all night and the next day from eating it, but at the time I felt it was worth it (*current Bek shakes head in disapproval*).
The ice-cream has somewhat of a cult following in Australia, and for good reason, that flavour combo of caramelised figs and caramel is nothing short of perfection. I've added bourbon to my caramel sauce, because I can, and because bourbon also plays very nicely with figs – it's caramel and vanilla undertones making everything taste just a little bit richer. Use a decent quality bourbon if you can, there's only 1 tablespoon in the caramel sauce but it does make a noticeable difference to the flavour.
Welcome to March friends, I hope that your Autumn (and Spring!) months are filled with delicious seasonal food and so much joy. I for one am happy to be rid of the constant high 30 and 40 degree heat, so bring on the cooler weather… and more figs!
p.s. If you make this recipe, please let me know how it goes! You can leave a comment, or take a photo and tag me on instagram #theflouredkitchen or twitter #flouredkitchen, it would make my day!
Previous ice-cream goodness:
Also, some Autumn cookbooks I 'm crushing on and planning on purchasing ASAP:
Fig + Bourbon Caramel Ripple Ice-Cream
Yield about 1 litre of ice-cream
vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free
A super creamy (not an icy mouthful in sight!) cashew and coconut based vegan and gluten-free ice-cream recipe – swirls of fresh fig compote and sea salt caramel are rippled through a simple vanilla ice-cream base, creating a dreamy frozen treat to send off Summer and welcome Autumn in all it's cosy glory.
Caramel sauce adapted from here.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/3 cup light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 vanilla bean pod, halved and seeds scraped (keep the pod, you'll use the seeds + the pod)
- 300g / about 2 cups packed, roughly chopped fresh ripe figs
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- small pinch fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp bourbon (add up to 1 Tbsp more for a stronger bourbon flavour if you'd like a little extra oomph)
- 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked overnight in cold water or for 2–3 hours in boiling hot water
- 3/4 cup raw granulated sugar
- 5 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. refined coconut oil (you can use unrefined however it will have a more pronounced coconut flavour)
- 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt or 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup canned coconut cream (refrigerate can of coconut milk or cream overnight, scoop the thick bit off the top to use in this recipe, leave watery part behind)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar, water, vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla pod, stir well and allow the sugar to dissolve a little. Add the chopped figs and the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until thick and jammy (about 10–15 minutes or so), stirring regularly so that the bottom does not burn (although a tiny little bit of burning can actually be a good thing for the flavour of the compote, if you're daring, let it catch a little on the bottom for a slightly 'burnt' fig compote). In the last minute, stir in the salt.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully take the vanilla pod out of the fig compote using tongs. Unless you'd like a chunky compote, mash up any remaining big figgy chunks as well as you can (I don't like big chunks of fruit in my ice-cream, if you do, leave them in!), if you'd like the compote to be extra smooth, puree the mix in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a container / jar and leave at room temperature to cool completely.
- Place coconut sugar, coconut cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow to cook, stirring often, until the coconut sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes until it begins to thicken (it will not thicken dramatically while it's still hot, but will thicken further upon cooling).
- To test if the caramel is thick enough, place a saucer or small bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to chill, then spoon a little of the caramel sauce into the bowl and place back in the freezer for a minute. Take it out and check the consistency now that it has cooled. It should be thick and should run slowly around the saucer/bowl as you tip it around. If it isn't thick enough, continue to simmer the sauce for another few minutes then re-test until you have the correct consistency.
- Once thickened, take the sauce off the heat and stir in the bourbon, then pour into a container / jar and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, then transfer them to a blender with 1 cup water – purée until smooth.
- Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high; cook until sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the coconut oil, salt and coconut cream. Heat until the mix begins to simmer and the salt is dissolved, then remove from the heat.
- Pour the coconut cream mix into the blender with the cashew cream, vanilla extract and xanthan gum, then blend on high for 1–2 minutes until smooth and well blended.
- Stir over an ice bath to quickly chill the ice-cream base. Once cool, pour into a lidded container and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2–3 hours (you can skip the ice bath step and just place the ice-cream base straight in the fridge, but it will need to chill overnight to be sufficiently chilled enough to churn).
- Place your ice-cream storage container (I use a loaf tin) in the freezer to chill. Transfer your chilled ice-cream base to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions until churned, thick and the ice-cream has stopped moving around in the machine (mine takes about 20 – 25 minutes to fully churn).
- Working quickly so that the ice-cream doesn't melt, scoop 1/3 of the ice-cream into the bottom of your chilled ice-cream container, then spoon 1/3 of the fig compote in big dollops over the ice-cream base, then with a spoon, drizzle over 1/3 of the caramel . Now repeat this process, two more times, so that you have 3 layers of ice-cream and 3 layers of figs & caramel. Place a knife into the layered ice-cream, and use it to gently ripple and swirl the sauce layers through the ice-cream. Cover the container and place it in the freezer to chill for at least 3–4 hours, until solid.
- Remove the ice-cream from the freezer about 10 – 15 minutes before you wish to serve it to allow it soften and become scoopable. Ice cream will keep, frozen, for up to 1 week.