I have a long list of favourite fruits, but I think figs are right at the tippity top. I absolutely love their curvaceous shape, their striking colour and their earthy taste that works well in both sweet and savoury dishes. Surprisingly, I don’t seem to have very many fig recipes here on my blog, but I think that’s because I tend to eat them all before I make any plans to bake with them! I dream of having a fig tree in my own backyard one day, to eat the fruit straight off the tree, just like Denea and I did in Orange last April when we went fig picking with Katie from The Farm Gate. I have never tasted a better one than that.
It was actually a rather difficult decision as to what to make with my precious figs (which cost a pretty penny!), as I really wanted their flavour to shine. The inspiration came from my friend Karen at Citrus and Candy who made lovely savoury fig galettes last year. I decided I wanted to make a sweet one. With honey. And lavender. And the leftover ricotta that I had sitting in the fridge. It all came together beautifully.
I really like galettes, because not only are they incredibly simple to make (“rustic” is the look you’re aiming for here), you can adapt them in any number of ways, using different fruits or even vegetables, depending on what’s in season. While taking these photos, the smell was making me froth at the mouth a little bit. The ricotta, lavender and honey were quite subtle which allowed the figs to really shine. However, it was the ginger ice cream that really made it something special.
Some of you may know that I’m a complete and total ginger addict, so making ginger ice cream seemed like a logical next step. Part of me wishes I hadn’t, because I think I’ll need to keep a container of this awesome ice cream in my freezer at all times for the rest of my life, I’m not even exaggerating. It went so beautifully with this galette, but I think it would go really well with almost any fruit pie or crumble too. Apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot, strawberry, rhubarb, even citrus desserts would be perfect with this ice cream. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Ginger Ice Cream
Adapted from ‘The Perfect Scoop’ by David Lebovitz
• 1 cup milk (I used low fat)
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 cups thickened cream (35% milk fat)
• Pinch of salt
• Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
• 6 large egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, salt and ginger in a medium saucepan until just before boiling point. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl. Un a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture through a strainer into the eggyolks (discarding ginger pieces), whisking constantly and then scrape mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
Pour the custard through a strainer into the cream and stir to combine. Cool over an ice bath and then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. When cold, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Honeyed Ricotta, Fig and Lavender Galette
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
From ‘Modern Classics 2’ by Donna Hay
• 2 cups plain flour
• 3 teaspoons caster sugar
• 150g unsalted butter, cold
• 4 tablespoons iced water
• 100g ricotta
• 2 teaspoons honey, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 8 figs, sliced
• 2 teaspoons raw sugar
• Butter, cut into 0.5cm cubes
• ½ teaspoon dried lavender
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
To make the pastry, place flour, caster sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the iced water and process until the mixture starts to form a dough. Knead lightly on a floured work surface until dough just holds together. Divide into 2 discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, place ricotta, honey and vanilla extract in a small bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Roll each disc out into a circle, about 4mm thick. Spread half the ricotta in a thin layer in the middle, leaving a large border all around (about 5cm).
Layer half of the figs on top of the ricotta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon raw sugar, about 5 cubes of butter, ¼ teaspoon of dried lavender and drizzle 1 teaspoon honey on top. Fold in the sides of the pastry and brush with egg. Repeat steps for the remaining pastry to make 2 galettes. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is golden and figs are tender. Serve, in slices with a scoop of ginger ice cream.