On my floor at work there is someone who has an incredibly prolific fig tree growing in his yard. He has been bringing in these amazing bags of fresh figs for the last couple of weeks--sends out an email saying there's figs to be had in the break room and everybody comes to get some to take back to their desks. It's really great. The tree is so bountiful that his branch of the office decided to sponsor a Fig Fest, wherein they served the sliced up figs over ice cream with honey and fresh mint sprigs. Delicious. So the tree continues to provide massive quantities of figs and so another fig fest was planned. I decided I'd like to try to make gelato di fichi which is one of my favorite flavors at our neighborhood gelateria.
Slice and quarter up about 1 pound of fresh figs. They are so beautiful inside--I read somewhere that they are actually inside-out flowers, botanically speaking. Cook the figs in a saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar for about 3-5 minutes. After they are bubbly, turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons honey--I used sourwood honey which has a potent floral flavor and is unique to the south. Stir in 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, making sure to get it smoothed out throughout the whole mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 1 teaspoon orange extract if you happen to have it around the house. Don't bother to go out and buy it special if you don't though. Cool the mixture down in the fridge for a half an hour then process it in your ice cream maker according to the directions that the machine came with. Mine is a cute little R2D2 looking thing from Cuisinart that works really well.
I took my gelato to work for the next fig fest and I think it went over pretty well. My boss had good things to say about it, while wearing her Maradona jersey.