Last night around 7.30 the doorbell rang just as I was clearing supper. It was Joyce, our bb-sitter of old ; a wonderful lady in the village who takes care of pet and plants when we’re away. She came specially bearing what by now must be the very last of the fig harvest. Stacked up three deep in a foil lasagna tray, she passed them over, tray sagging, saying that they were very ripe, probably only good for jam. Joyce had given me her best and last a week back but as she knows I adore figs, she couldn’t see the final overripe bloated ones go to waste.
This explains the photo above. There’s such a glut this year that everyone has a bite with more than enough to go round. That’s figs for you – nothing then all at once, oozing that little drip of sweet stickiness. It’s far too hot still to make jam though in Malta’s perpetual summer. Autumn is never chill. So what to do? I’ve no time mid week anyway to stand till past midnight over a steaming Maslin pan. I’ve discovered though that figs open freeze just as well as any soft berries, so I buy myself time stuffing them in the freezer. More than a good handful left for morning served simply with plain yoghurt and thyme honey. It’s been my healthy start for nearly a month now, since our trip to Sicily. The fly on fig photo is in fact taken in the garden of Villa Zottopera, an agriturismo near Ragusa.
Over breakfast, I mull over the options for the bags of figs in cold storage awaiting reincarnation. The humid autumnal heat calls for fig ice cream. David Lebovitz, il dio di gelato for me, has a photo to drool over in The Perfect Scoop. But can I get it as perfect picture pink? No idea what type of figs I have but I have an inkling mine will look muddy brown as ice cream.
How I got this shot I don’t know what with J hopping around in a swarm of mosquitoes and the heat and humidity melting the ice cream when he did stay still. Hence the very tight grip on that fragile cone! Finally though, the fruits of my labour to taste (all too quickly as it dripped!).
The browner side of pink it may be, but this fig ice cream is made for autumn. It packs some flavour especially if from oozingly ripe figs. The perfect combo for my next ice cream…well, when I get the bug…! And if you’re not a fan of niggling seeds in those squashed dried figs at Christmas, don’t worry, fresh seeds are nowhere near as pesky and give the ice cream a nice texture.
Fig Ice Cream
David Lebovitz’s recipe is here.
All images © Liz Ayling 2012