Creamy Fig Ice Cream with Coconut, Cashews, and Lemon

Creamy fig ice cream made with coconut milk, cashews, and lemon! Lightly sweetened with maple syrup.

Make Your Own Fig Ice Cream

This non-dairy version of fig ice cream is super creamy, using a combination of coconut milk and soaked, raw cashews. I think you’re going to love the flavor combination of figs, coconut, and lemon together too.

Summer is Fig Season in Texas

There are many different varieties of figs out there. They range in color from dark purple to green to a rosy peach. The ones I picked locally this summer were green to start and turned this beautiful rosy peach color when they ripened, and they are pinkish red inside.

This summer has been especially good for figs in Austin. We got over 3 inches of rain about a month ago, right about the time when the figs were developing on the trees. I’m guessing that’s why we’re getting a bumper crop. Some years the fruits seem to shrivel up before they ripen.

Fig Ice Cream?

What to do with an overabundance of figs? First I gave some away, to the soup kitchen, to our neighbors and friends, and still I had enough to play with. I thought about making preserves, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of canning. So then I got the idea of making ice cream. Is fig ice cream a thing? I googled it and found that yes, fig ice cream of all sorts is a thing.

What flavors go especially well with figs? Balsamic vinegar, chocolate, arugula, orange, and goat cheese are some of the classic flavor pairings. But what about coconut milk and lemon? So I tried it, making a coconut milk, raw cashew, and vanilla ice cream base (modeled off a recipe in the Minimalist Baker) and adding figs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and maple syrup.

To Roast or Not to Roast

I actually tried roasting the figs before putting them in the ice cream, but I found that they lost some of their flavor that way, and I ended up adding some raw figs back in. So I recommend using the figs fresh as long as they are good and ripe. If they are a little underripe, you can try roasting them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes with a little coconut oil. Just make sure to chill them before adding to the ice cream base.

Homemade Ice Cream

I like making my own ice cream, as you can control the type of milk you use and the amount of sugar you add to it. Figs, coconut milk, and cashews are sweet on their own, so it really didn’t need a lot more sugar.

I got an ice cream maker several years ago. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to use it. Typically, I don’t use it much until summer starts and then I’ll make several different kinds of ice cream before putting it away for the winter. So I think it has been worth the investment.

Here’s the one that I have. It’s a Cuisinart 1.5 quart classic frozen yogurt, ice cream, and sorbet maker. I remember getting it on sale at Sur La Table. July-August should be the perfect time to get one.

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Creamy Fig Ice Cream with Coconut, Cashews, and Lemon


Ingredients

Scale

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water a few hours or overnight

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

3 tablespoons coconut oil

zest of 1 lemon (yellow part only)

juice of 1 lemon

water or unsweetened almond milk, for blending

3 cups ripe figs, stemmed and sliced in half (reserve a handful for garnishing)


Instructions

Put ice cream freezer bowl in the freezer at least one day before making the ice cream.

Drain cashews and add to blender along with coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until smooth. 

Add coconut oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice and blend to combine. Add a little water or almond milk if needed (up to 1/2 cup) to facilitate blending.

Add figs (reserving a handful for garnishing) and pulse until mixed in. It’s okay to have chunks of figs; does not have to be completely smooth.

Assemble ice cream maker, including frozen bowl and plastic mixing paddle, and plug in. Turn on machine and pour ice cream base into maker while it is running. Every now and then scrape the ice cream off the sides gently with a wooden spoon (without turning machine off). A few minutes into running the machine, add reserved figs (unless you’re going to serve the ice cream right away, then you can use them to top the ice cream instead). Keep the machine running until the ice cream is thick and frozen, then turn off machine, carefully remove mixing paddle, and transfer ice cream to plastic pint containers (I use gelato containers).

Serve immediately or store in the freezer. You’ll need to let the ice cream thaw for about 10-20 minutes (depending on the temperature of your kitchen) before scooping once it is frozen solid.


Notes

Instead of lemon juice and lemon zest, try drizzling in some melted chocolate chips while the ice cream maker is churning. 

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Creamy Fig Ice Cream w Coconut, Cashew, & Lemon
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