Be careful not to overmix the ice cream when swirling in the caramel sauce.

Martha Stewart Living, September 1997


Recipe Summary

Makes 2 pints


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla bean and scrapings, and pepper. Scald the milk, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

  • Combine the egg yolks and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return the milk to a simmer.

  • Remove the vanilla bean. Add half the milk to egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Stir into remaining milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon.

  • Remove from heat, and immediately stir in 2 cups cream. Pass mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl set over a large bowl of ice water. Allow to chill.

  • Meanwhile, dissolve the granulated sugar in 1 cup of water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set over high heat, wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush, and cook, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, 8 to 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and 8 figs. Let stand about 15 minutes while the mixture cools and figs soften.

  • Remove from heat, and chill. Puree caramel mixture in a blender or food processor, and set aside.

  • Freeze ice cream in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Fold 1 cup of chilled caramel sauce into frozen ice cream, until large swirls of caramel form. Transfer to a plastic container, and freeze for at least 2 hours to harden.

  • Cut remaining 16 figs in half lengthwise. Combine remaining caramel sauce and figs in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat just until figs are warm, 3 to 5 minutes, and serve warm over the ice cream.