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My childhood is full of fond memories of eating ice cream. Every summer my dad would drag his old crate of an ice cream maker out from the storage closet and start whipping up batch after batch of vanilla, strawberry, chocolate chip, and my favorite, mint chip, for my older brothers and me.
The constant whirring of the machine and mess in the kitchen used to drive my mom crazy, but I grew to love awakening to the racket in the morning.
“Is it ready yet, Daddy?” I’d squeal as I stood watching the the whirlpool of heavy cream, sugar and eggs churning away in the mixer.
“Not yet!” He’d respond time and time again throughout my persistent inquisition.
I was always rewarded for my patience, however. When the ice cream was finally done, I was the one who got to lick the long metallic blades of the maker. My mom would cover the patio table and chair with towels, and I’d sit there licking and licking until every corner of the beater (and inside of the ice cream barrel) was licked clean. This also meant that I would inevitably emerge from the patio covered in sticky patches of cream.
This was another reason my mom hated it when my dad made ice cream.
At some point during my high school years, the maker conveniently went missing and, sadly, was never recovered or replaced. The whirring stopped. The mornings my mom spent hiding out in her bedroom while my dad took over the kitchen ceased to exist. And the licking of the maker blades halted with it. My brothers and I grew up, moved out and time slowly dulled our interest in the summertime ritual of eating homemade ice cream.
When I discovered that my KitchenAid® stand mixer had an ice cream maker attachment, however, my interest in the ritual reawakened.
I felt like a little girl again as I contemplated all the different flavors I could make. Should I start with salted caramel? The mint chip that I loved so much as a child? Then, one morning when I was wandering around the farmer’s market inhaling all the fragrant summer produce that was peppering the air like potpourri, I found my answer.
And, when I paged through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop later that afternoon, I found my recipe.
Despite my apprehension about taking over the reigns from my dad, the KitchenAid® mixer did most of the work for me. After freezing the bowl attachment overnight, I set about making my base. Supple black mission figs were turned into a thick syrupy jam, heavy cream and a touch of lemon juice were added, and then I blended the ingredients together using my KitchenAid hand immersion blender. Once the base had chilled, I deposited it into the mixer freeze bowl — directly over the whirring dasher attachment that, incidentally, didn’t make much of a whirring sound at all.
There was no need for me to stand impatiently over the maker waiting and waiting and waiting for my sweet afternoon snack to finally be done. It took only 30 minutes for my fig ice cream to reach the desired consistency. I smiled as I thought about how many of my mom’s headaches could have been avoided had my dad used the KitchenAid® attachment instead of his clanky monstrosity.
Even though the dasher attachment is a third of the size of the metal blade from my dad’s old fashioned maker, I still relished every lick it took to clean off the sweet purple cream. If I closed my eyes I could almost feel the rough threads of the towels under my skinny five-year-old legs and the summer breeze tickling my blond hair. But this ice cream — thick, lush, redolent with the flavor of fresh figs — was nothing like the mint chip that captured my heart as a child.
In my grown up mind, it’s the new taste of summer.
Fresh Fig Ice Cream Recipe
From David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
2 lbs fresh figs (about 20)
½ cup of water
1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
¾ cup of sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed, lemon juice, or more to taste
Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive sauce pan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes until the figs are tender.
Remove the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook until it reaches a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend together with cream and lemon juice, chill in the fridge and then put in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions.