9.20.2010

Oregano Ice Cream with Fig Syrup


Everyone is flavoring desserts with fresh herbs these days so as a farewell to summer here's one I made as soon as I saw some fresh figs in the market. Are you familiar with Hank from
Hunter Angler Gardener Cook? I've been reading his blog for quite a while and am so impressed with his diverse interests and inquiring mind. He takes you along on his many journeys and discoveries and never fails to post marvelous recipes and lots of information. And on anything concerning game? He is my guru.

 Hank doesn't post desserts all that often so when I read this on his blog quite a while back, I bookmarked it. He has a winner with this herbal ice cream and here's what he says about it:


"This is my own invention, although it relies on a standard ice cream base. Do this ice cream recipe only in early spring, or in the late winters where it is warm, as it is here in Northern California. Only use the freshest oregano and the finest individual ingredients. Your guests will notice."

I waited most of the summer for the fresh figs and just crossed my fingers the oregano from my kitchen herb garden would do the trick.  I've had fun with a few herbal ice creams this summer and also made a basil panna cotta and lavender syrup recently; but because ice cream has always been my favorite dessert hands down, I thought this would be an interesting addition to my repertoire.

We all loved it but when you look at the photo, you don't see oregano ice cream, you see vanilla. Believe me, the oregano flavor was delightful, not too strong and perfectly balanced. I wish I had thought to put a sprig of oregano on top to make it a bit more obvious, but by that time I was deep into the fig syrup and forgot. I followed Hank's recipe for fig syrup too, but mine ended up thicker than his....which frankly, made it more of a sauce than a syrup. Mind you, I'm not complaining, it was terrific.

Greek Oregano Ice Cream with Fig Syrup
From Hunter Angler Gardener Cook


Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
scant 2 cups milk
generous 1/2 cup sugar
 4 large egg yolks
double handful of fresh oregano leaves, about 1/2 cup loosely placed in a measuring cup
black honey, preferably Greek — any really dark honey will do
sprigs of oregano from the very tips of the plants to garnish  (Oops...I forgot!)

Method:
Make the
 crème anglaise. In a nonreactive pot, heat the milk, cream and sugar just barely to the boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the oregano, cover and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Do not steep the herbs for more than 6 hours.

Strain the oregano out of the cream mixture and return to the heat. Lightly beat the egg yolks, and when the cream mixture is just at a boil, turn the heat down.

Add a small ladleful of the hot cream to the egg yolks to temper them, stirring the yolks constantly. Do this until you have several ladlesful in the egg bowl. Now pour the contents of the egg bowl into the hot cream. Stir well, turn the heat up to medium, and when you see the faintest boil turn off the heat.

When the crème anglaise is cool, strain it again to get out any lumpy bits, then pour into your ice cream maker.

Hank's Fig Syrup

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds ripe figs (I reduced this amount.)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
sugar to taste (I didn't need any)

Method:

Chop the figs well, add the zest and juice of the lemons and simmer over medium-low heat for 2-3 hours. You want everything to break down and be a mush. (It didn't take that long when I did it.)

Turn off the heat and push the fig mixture through the fine plate of a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, you could use a drum sieve or a fine colander. But a food mill is best.


After everything is through the food mill, pour the fig mixture into a jelly bag if you have one — Hank didn't, so he used a clean spare undershirt — and push everything through. (I ignored this and just pushed everything through a sieve. My syrup looks more like a sauce than Hank's, but we loved it just the way it was.) You will leave a lot of good stuff in the bag, but it’s the price for a clear syrup.
Taste for sugar and add, if necessary.

58 comments:

  1. Barbara, I'm having a difficult time letting summer go, so Hank's ice cream and fig sauce sound perfect. Your photo is incredible. I'm not much of a dessert maker myself, but this looks too good to pass up.

    I'm off to check his blog now.
    Sam

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  2. This is exactly the kind of recipe I love to discover! I've made a five herb ice cream that was wonderful, so I can't wait to try this!

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  3. I just picked up fresh figs yesterday and this looks delicious!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  4. I love to make my own ice cream and will have to give this a try. And that fig syrup! Great idea.

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  5. This is pretty much a WOWZER! Have been reading Hank for a while now - he is so talented and knowledgeable and is evident w/this recipe!

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  6. Oh this sounds delightful Barbara! I have some oregano growing at the moment, so I'm going to try this soon. And yay, a new blog to read :) Thanks for sharing.

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  7. This looks wonderful! I love the herby ice creams that I have seen lately. Ice cream maker is on my list for next summer I gotta try this.

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  8. I haven't branched off into the world of herb ice creams with my new machine but this does sound delicious, especially with that wonderful fig syrup.

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  9. The Knight says I won't be using HIS ice cream maker for such. Hem. Did he just give me permission to buy my own?!

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  10. Barbara...I'm thrilled you finally had a chance to share this one with us. My MIL has very fragrant oregano which she promised to put aside for me ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

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  11. Interesting recipe, it looks delicious! You always come up with such different and delicious things!

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  12. What an unusual combination. Oregano in ice cream, I will have to try it for sure.

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  13. Barbara

    This sounds like the inspiration came out of Lebanon! I love the use of fresh oregano and figs in this dessert; I have never tried oregano in ice-cream but I think I would like it; it would be like a variation on the peppermint ice-cream, with oreganon flavor; the fig syrup sounds wonderful too, I need to make some, we just got another bucket of figs!!!!

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  14. what a great ice cream flavor! So delicious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  15. It sounds very interesting. I was never much of an ice cream eater, maybe I never found the right combination of flavors. Beautiful photographs. I'll have to check out his blog.

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  16. This is one of those exciting combinations Barbara!!!!

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  17. This sounds unbelievable! Oregano Icecream? Fig Syrup? Sounds unusual but sooo good!

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  18. Wow, that's quite a flavour! I'm not sure how i would feel about oregano ice cream on its own (I'd have to taste it), but with the addition of the fig syrup, I think this would be positively amazing!
    *kisses* HH

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  19. I feel so pedestrian in my cooking compared to you.

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  20. Wow Barbara...oregano ice cream? Initially sounded so different :-) as I went on reading started to imagine the flavor...and I can tell you that I'll love this ice cream, specially with the fig sauce...yummie!

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  21. This sounds interesting and looks delish!

    Maria
    x

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  22. What an interesting ice cream flavor!! It sure does sound intriguing.

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  23. I've heard of basil and avocado ice cream but not oregano. Heavenly!

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  24. How unique! I've had an ice cream and a sorbet with basil but not with oregano yet - a must try for sure!

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  25. What a great combination! I can imagine the oregano and fig are really lovely together!

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  26. I love fresh herb ice cream Barbara, but I've never seen oregano done. It sounds nice! Basil ice cream is delicious, so I don't see why Hank's Oregano wouldn't be...?!
    p.s. Congrats on the win over at Cristina's blog. Yeah!

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  27. Oregano ice cream? I'm intrigued...

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  28. This Ice Cream look absolutely nice and yummy dear Barbara, I love it! gloria

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  29. wow what an amazing ice cream very impressive can I try some?

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  30. I haven't been brave enough to try herbs in desserts. It looks like this one would be a great one to start with.

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  31. Wow, I don't know what part of this I like more!! The oregano ice cream sounds absolutely incredible, but I would die for some fig syrup right about now!

    Sues

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  32. this ice cream is new to me, wish I can try some to know how tasty it is.

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  33. Hi Barbara,

    I would not have thought to put oregano in a dessert, but this does sound great.
    Also the fig syrup looks yummy.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    We used to have a big fig tree at the home where I grew up.

    Have a great week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  34. This is a truly luxurious treat for me as we can't find figs here......

    I am sure the taste is as great as how the ice cream and syrup topping look since I am drooling now :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,
    Kris

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  35. Wow, what an interesting sounding recipe! I've never seen anything like it! I've had olive oil ice cream with varied success but this one sounds like it would be delicious! :)

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  36. Barbara,
    Wow this would surely dazzle my guests, how unique! I have so much oregano in my garden I really should give this a try. If I'm too busy this weekend to make the fig sauce I wonder if I can substitute with some fruit-wine drizzles I brought back from Niagara on the Lake wine trail? I don't think I have a fig on hand but I'll check my pantry later.
    I'm writing my current newsletter now that goes out to my clients etc. I would love to mention you and this recipe in the food section!
    Have a great day
    Xx
    Bunny

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  37. I'm too late for this, I just made fig jam this weekend with the last of our figs! I did make fig gelato a couple of weeks before, and it was tasty.

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  38. I really love the idea of infusing herbs into sweets. The flavor profiles are always so unique and tantalizing!

    I've become a fig addict lately and I'm so sad that they're gone now! I will have to bookmark this for next year.

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  39. This sounds different enough to be fascinating. I make a parmesan cheese cream that is delicious. I imagine yours is too. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  40. I hope you have a lovely day today!

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  41. I started making Martha Stewart's purple basil jelly years and years ago... it is absolutely one of my favorite things so putting an herb in a sweet makes perfect sense to me... and figs and oregano???? Whoa, I can feel that combination tingling my toes... I have some marjoram in the fridge just waiting for a purpose in life... thanks for the great idea, m'lady Barbara!

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  42. Barbara! I have missed you! I just subscribed as I see you have that offered on your site now so I can keep up with your posts in my e-mail! This recipe blew me away! What fuN! What incredible unique and timely fall flavours. I cannot wait to try this. I have it in my to make pile. I will snoop around some more when I get home, tonight!
    :)
    Valerie

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  43. How utterly divine this is, Barbara!! Love the herbs and ohhhh that fig sauce!! Utterly swooning over here. :-)

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  44. This really does sound wonderful, Barbara! The fig sauce alone sounds delightful but the combination of the two - fantastic. I need to try this if I can find some fresh figs.

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  45. Oregano ice cream! Wowza! And here, I have a plethora of oregano growing in my backyard. Will definitely save a bunch for this ice cream.

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  46. This looks soooo good...I have never really had fresh figs...but I know I would love them . xoxo Your images are the BEST!

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  47. Barb! Hey, you are so kind to visit me; I don't know sometimes if my blog is some people's CUP OF TEA, but you are so kind to come and comment! I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS TYPE OF ICE CREAM, although, we in Japan about 35 years ago, I had green tea ice cream with red beans. It was DELICIOUS! So anything is possible with a good ice cream base!

    Have a lovely week, Anita

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  48. Mmmm....beautiful ice cream. I love that fig sauce. It's getting very cold but I don't mind to enjoy a scoop :D

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  49. Can you believe I've never had a fig before?? I'm not sure if I like them or not, but if it's in ice cream it's got to be good :)

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  50. wow, this looks incredible!

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  51. I am totally intrigued by this! I'd love to try oregano ice cream, I can't quite imagine the flavor. And the fig syrup...sign me up. Wouldn't that be great on just about anything?!

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  52. Wow, what a beautiful concept. The thought doesn't temp me, haha, but I'd still love to try it. I bet herbed ice cream is a delicious surprise! Oh, from the looks of your blog, I'd like to drop by for a visit someday... I bet that would be DELICIOUS!! :)

    ~Tabitha

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  53. I adore oregano, so this incarnation is a new one for me.

    Now to find FRESH oregano, sigh... shall avoid the dried variety. X.

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  54. Sounds fabulous. My neighbor just happened to drop off a bag of figs, so I'm all set.
    Mimi

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  55. Lovely ice cream. Very creative rendition. Great fig syrup as well.

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  56. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

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  57. this is brilliant. I love these creative ways that push a recipe into new areas. And your Fig Syrup--simple and marvelous.

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  58. what a one-of-a-kind ice cream! oregano is one of my favorite herbs, but cilantro is tops for me. i wonder what a coriander ice cream would be like...

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