Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fig and Muscat wine ice cream with salted pistachio praline

Ice cream again? Yes, again. Because I made this the other day and I had to share it with you before fig season is officially over.

It’s not your mainstream ice cream, this is different. It is a fig and Muscat wine ice cream with a salted pistachio praline and is not custard-based but it’s made by pureeing the whole figs, skins and all, together with demerara sugar and a little lemon juice, and then the wine and cream are mixed in before you churn it.

There’s sweetness in the ice cream which comes on several different levels— the figs, the wine, the raw sugar— and it has a deeply intense fig flavor, which of course hugely depends on the ripeness and quality of the precious figs.

There is a hit of Muscat wine flavor that is subtle rather than overwhelming, with its sweet and floral aroma tingling your taste buds. I used Greek, sweet, white Moschato (Muscat) wine from the island of Samos, which is one of the best in my opinion. I may of course be biased being Greek and all but I find that compared to the Italian or French Muscat wines, the Greek Moschato is livelier with a fuller and more vibrant grape flavor.

The ice cream doesn’t have a terribly complex flavor, containing just a few ingredients that allow the figs to shine in all their freshness and seasonality. The earthy, sweet and salty pistachio praline that’s served alongside it, is a great addition not only in terms of flavor but also in terms of texture as its strong crunch complements the creaminess of the ice cream.
With its charming shade of pink, little specks of tiny yellow fig seeds and flecks of purple fig skin decorating it throughout, it’s a beautiful ice cream to look at and eat.

If you need some more ways to use the last figs of the season:
Fig jam
Fig and mascarpone bruschetta with ham and honey
Tagliatelle with fresh figs, goat's cheese and prosciutto
And one with dried figs:
Savory muffins with Gruyère cheese, dried figs and fresh herbs

Fig and Muscat wine ice cream with salted pistachio praline
Ice cream recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson via Real Food by Nigel Slater

Salted pistachios tend to be too salty, that’s why I prefer to add the salt separately. In this way I can manage the level of saltiness in the praline.

I have made this ice cream in the past without churning it and the result was equally good which is good news for those of you without an ice cream machine.

Yield: about 1 kg


for the ice cream
530-550 g sweet, ripe, fresh, purple figs (about 7 large figs)
120 g Demerara sugar (raw cane sugar)
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
120 ml white, sweet, Muscat wine (preferably Greek Moschato from the island of Samos)
130 ml cream, full-fat (35%)

for the salted pistachio praline
100 g shelled, unsalted pistachios
130 g white, granulated sugar
50 ml water
¼ tsp sea salt flakes (I used Maldon)

Special equipment: large food processor, ice cream machine (optional yet preferable), heatproof spatula, candy thermometer (optional), silicone sheet or baking paper


for the ice cream
Rinse the figs under cold running water and cut off the stalks. Cut them in quarters, keeping their skin on, and add them to the food processor together with the sugar and lemon juice. Process them and add the wine. Process again and add the cream. Process thoroughly until you have a puree with small bits of fig skin still visible.

Empty into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before churning it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Due to the large amount of alcohol in there, it doesn’t create ice crystals so it stays creamy but it needs to stay out of the fridge for half an hour to be scoopable.

Alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream machine, empty it into a freezer-friendly container and place it in the freezer. You don’t need to stir it at all.

You can keep the ice cream in your freezer for a week.

for the salted pistachio praline
In a small skillet add the pistachios and place over a medium heat. Toast them, stirring often so they don’t get burned, until they become fragrant and brown lightly. Transfer them to a small bowl.

Lay a big sheet of baking paper or a silicone sheet over your work surface.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sugar and water and place over a medium heat. Stir with a heatproof spatula until the sugar dissolves in the water, turn heat up to medium-high and then allow the magic to happen. The sugar will start to boil, do not stir at all because it will crystallize and it will be ruined, but stay close and keep an eye on it because you don’t want your caramel to burn. It will take 6-7 minutes for the sugar to turn into a dark golden caramel. The subtle smell of burnt sugar is an indication that it’s ready. Be careful not to burn it though. If you have a candy thermometer it should read 185°C.

Take the pan off the heat immediately and add the salt and toasted pistachios to the pan. Stir briefly with a heatproof spatula to coat them with the caramel and empty onto the baking paper/silicone sheet, spreading it quickly with the help of the spatula. Allow to cool completely. It will take 25-30 minutes.

Once cooled, break the praline with your hands into pieces. You can grind them in your food processor and sprinkle over your ice cream (like in this ice cream) or keep them in shards and serve alongside the ice cream.

Keep the praline in a sealed glass jar for 1 week.


  1. This looks absolutely divine! If I saw this on a menu I'd make a beeline straight for it! :D

  2. I love muscato! And the figs + wine + pistachios is a divine combo.