Carmelized fig and Mascarpone Ice Cream with Butter Salt Pralines
Every year I look foreward to fig time. My friend Tony Massad from Massad farm in Leamington Ontario has wonderful figs. Tony is Lebanese (half my ethnicity) and to Lebanese people growing figs is as natural as tomatoes to an Italian (the other half of me). Tony's dad Max even has a lemon tree in the green house and once treated me to a homegrown lemon. It looked like a pear in shape. I felt special. In my head I visited all the market shoppers and was sure no one had a homegrown lemon in their bags.
Fig time means caramelized to me. Figs cooked with dark brown sugar have strong notes of toffee and caramel and a hint of bitterness which is completely neutralized in the cream of the ice cream.
Rich dairy ice creams have a tendency to tone things down. While the fat compliments and rich ens the flavour it does reduce intensity so I like to over emphasize thing to get them to the fore. This means lots of heat and time (and smoke) when caramelizing and extra molasses to bring out those toffee notes. A good pinch of salt, while imperceptible rounds out the flavour.
Mascarpone adds a hint of buttery richness with a touch of tang reminiscent of buttermilk.
I often hesitate to make a smooth ice cream cause you the public love to see stuff in your ice cream so buttery salted pecan pralines finish off this creation. It will make limited appearance as fresh figs have a short season. Available starting July 10,2018 and making sporadic appearances till I run out of figs.