It’s official. The fact that the first “hot” day in Portland renders me wishing it was cooler is surely a tell-tale sign that I’m a… wait for it… Portlander.
Of course I’ve gone through several of the iconic Portlander initiations already. Converting to a hop head and shunning all other beer that once I knew and loved. Wearing socks with my flip flops. Thinking McMenamins is cool. Figuring out that McMenamins actually kind of sucks. Except for the spicy tots of course. And yelling at a car from my bicycle, while forgetting that I don’t have any car windows to shield the public from my traffic tourettes.
Not that I hate the sun or warm weather or anything, I’m all about it being warm enough to wear flip flops (without the socks of course), but the hotness made my afternoon run total crap. You get so used to running in mild temperatures that 73 is just unbearable.
But, there is something that goes quite nicely with this summer weather; ice cream! I’m always fiddling around with my ice cream machine. I love having random ideas and being able to actually turn them into reality, even if reality turns out a tad different than what had originally transpired inside my head. #alwayshappens
I had some black mission figs slowly dying in my pantry. Initially I thought fig and honey ice cream, but honey’s technically not vegan and you just can’t get the same flavor from agave. Then I thought figs and madeira, but I, of course, didn’t have any madeira lying around. But I did have about half a bottle of marsala being neglected so I figure it was time to put it to use.
Fig & Marsala Ice Cream
- 9 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
- 1 can coconut milk (I used light)
- 1 & 1/4 C organic sugar
- 6 T marsala (or to taste)
- 1 T olive oil (optional)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 C figs (fresh or dried)
So this is where I tell you how I did it, and then advise you to do it a different way (I’m a work in progress).
This ice cream turned out pretty soft; not yogurty-soft-serve-soft but definitely not ice creamy-heat-the-scoop-up-first-hard. The culprit? All that damn marsala. I may be a lush but I like to taste my booze, so I kept adding more marsala to the ice cream base. What I should have done is reduced a cup or so of marsala on the stove by more than half. This way you get a lot of flavor but not so much liquid (and alcohol which also affects the freezing properties). It’s up to you, but I advise going the route of the reduction.
Once you’ve decided how to handle your marsala, toss everything in a blender, except the figs, and puree until smooth. You can chill it down more before freezing, or just pour it straight into your ice cream maker.
If you’re using dried figs you’ll need to bring them back to life. I roughly chopped mine into small pieces, covered them with hot marsala and let them rehydrate for a bit. Drain off the marsala before adding the figs to your ice cream (add either during the last few minutes of freezing or mix them in by hand afterward).
I didn’t stop here of course. I still thought the ice cream wasn’t marsala-y enough, so I dumped the rest of the bottle into a sauce pan – probably about 1 cup – and reduced it until it was a thick syrup. You won’t be able to tell the consistency of the syrup until you cool it, so reduce it for a bit and then cool it in a stainless steel (or something conductive) bowl that’s sitting in an ice bath so you can find out quickly if it’s reduced enough. I drizzled the syrup over the ice cream in layers when transferring from maker to tupperware. In my opinion, the syrup did the trick in making the ice cream flavorful, but you might be able to skip this step if you reduce the marsala before adding it to the ice cream base.
Well today’s supposed to be another scorcher (high of 80… eek!). I think I’ll play it smarter though and not go for a run right smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the day (I may be slow sometimes but I’m not completely daft). Hope you’re enjoying some nice spring weather, wherever you are. Cheers!