Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Burnt Fig Semifreddo

Have you ever had Maggie Beer's ice cream with burnt fig jam, honeycomb and caramel? If you haven't, you have no idea what you are missing, it's a revelation in the frozen dessert world. She is a seriously smart woman and sometimes I wish we were related so I could hang out at her farm while she whips up a perfectly roasted pheasant with verjuice or something like that, and scoops up this ice cream for dessert. If any of you ever meet her, tell her I'm waiting with held breath for her to adopt me.

In the meantime, I'll live through her recipes. The good thing about this recipe is that you don't even need pristine figs (which are hard to come by this season, sad face) you can use mediocre ones and no one will ever know, because when they are bubbled down into a brown sugar caramel, slightly burnt at the edges, no one will care that they were perhaps a little bruised to begin with, because no one will be able to tell. Sneaky huh?

This is great, great, great stuff. You will love it I promise. It's creamy and soft and the burnt fig jam? Impossible to stop eating. And guess what? You don't even need an ice cream machine! Hurrah! All you need is a giant spoon to eat it with.

Also, who is jealous of my sisters amazing tea set (above)? ME. THAT'S WHO.

Burnt Fig Semifreddo:
adapted from (an original Maggie Beer recipe)

I cut half the original amount of caster sugar in half, I think the fig mixture is more than sweet enough.

300g fresh figs, finely diced with stems removed
150g brown sugar
7 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
250ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
50ml cream, un-whipped.
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Add the figs to a large frying pan and stir over medium to high heat until they are softened and are starting to stick to the pan slightly, about 5 mins. When you can see them starting to stick, add the brown sugar to the pan, stir to combine, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes to caramelize.

In this recipe, the aim is to burn the figs, just slightly, to enhance the depth of caramelised flavours. So, keep an eye to the pan, and try to let the figs cook as much as possible. The mixture will thicken, taste it and if it tastes only slightly burnt, then take it off. If you over cook it, the sugar will taste bitter and unpleasant.

Stir in the lemon juice and remove the pan from the heat to cool to room temperature. Add the 50ml of cream and gently work it into the jam. The figs will relax and give you a much more workable mixture. (You must not add the figs to the semifreddo mixture when they are scalding hot – it will scramble the eggs.)

In a mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks on high until they nearly triple in volume. The mixture should form a thick ribbon-like texture. You need to be patient and persistent – you will be whisking the eggs for at good 15 minutes to get the necessary volume and texture. Add the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time, ensuring it is well mixed by continuing to whip the mixture on high.

Next, fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture, taking care not to lose the volume.
Finally, gently fold the fig mixture through and pour it into a plastic (freezer proof) container. Place it in the freezer to set over night – or least for 4 hours.


  1. I like to think of Maggie as my honorary grandmother :)

  2. Wow! This sounds amazing! Bookmarking for next fall...



  3. I can say from experience that this IS DELICIOUS!

  4. Oh my goodness this sounds amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on some decent-ish figs. Thank you.

  5. just found your blog this weekend. Made this and it was fabulous. I cant wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks so much - you made me laugh too.

  6. Hey Sophie, This is my favourite icecream! It's da bomb. I wish figs were still in season......I miss them

  7. I am going to adapt this again as an icecream... Maggie Beers version is the ONLY ice cream i ever buy.... not no more... thnx for the recipe. Marian

    1. I made it as an icecream... for the burnt figs I went more maggie than in this recipe. I used 12 big figs 150gm dark brown sugar, 150gm butter (salted), 1/2 cup (urban) honey,and i added a splosh of white wine cos I didn't have any verjuice. Voila... burnt the figs a little as in this recipe. Added sugar, butter honey and sploch all at the sameish time stirred round the (heavy based) pan until I achieved a gorgeous dark jammy consistency. All up nearly as brilliant as Maggies.

  8. I've been looking for a burnt fig recipe that doesnt just "add maggie beer jam" for ages! Can't wait to make this today, how many people does it feed as dessert on its own? 4?

  9. hmm it makes around a litre of semifreddo, so perhaps 5 people for dessert?