Cook's Exchange: Figs are finally picking up

July 31, 2013 

FOOD ICECREAM-HOMEMADE 1 TB

Cool off with homemade ice cream: making a pint or two at home is a breeze, like making this crunchy peanut butter ice cream. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

BILL HOGAN — MCT

To say my family likes figs is an understatement. My favorite way to eat figs is cut up with milk and Splenda for breakfast. I thought I would share a couple of my favorites that friends and family also like. These are tried and true recipes.

Because we enjoy figs so much, I never can them. There is never enough to can. I do make low-sugar fig preserves that I cook and put in the refrigerator. These preserves stay good about two weeks, but they do not last that long around my bunch.

FIG PRESERVES

1-2 gallons figs, stems removed

2 cups Splenda or sugar

Place figs in a Dutch oven and cook over medium heat. Add Splenda or sugar and stir. Cook over low heat until figs and sweetener cook down and form a heavy syrup, about 2 to 3 hours. Place in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: I do not add lemon slices or strawberry gelatin to my preserves. I prefer just plain figs.

I discovered this cake recipe at lostrecipesfound.com. It is so good and needs no frosting. I just dust it with powered sugar. I use my low-sugar fig preserves in this cake, so the cake is not too sweet, just the way we like it.

FIG PRESERVE CAKE

3/4 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups fig preserves (see above recipe)

Cream butter and sugar in mixer bowl on low to medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk. Turn mixer to low and add flour slowly. Immediately add baking soda that has been dissolved in the vinegar. Add vanilla and blend well. Add figs and mix until just blended.

Put in a 9-by-12-inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Note: My oven cooks quickly, so the cake was ready in 45 minutes. Remove from oven.

Turn onto cake board or platter and dust with powdered sugar.

More ice cream

Dee Turner of Lucedale, Miss., sent her favorite -- and easy -- vanilla ice cream recipe for Nell Davis. Terri Favre of Bay St. Louis, Miss., and a reader named Jeannie also share homemade ice cream recipes.

Pasteurized eggs could be used in this recipe if you are afraid of using raw eggs. If using raw eggs, make sure the shells have no cracks.

MRS. STERLING'S VANILLA ICE CREAM

6 eggs

2- 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 ounce vanilla extract

3 cans evaporated milk

With a mixer, beat together egg yolks and sugar for about 5-10 minutes on high speed.

Then beat egg whites separately until peaks form.

Pour evaporated milk with egg and sugar mixture. Then add egg whites to egg mixture.

Beat with mixer after every step so it's thoroughly blended. Add vanilla extract and beat again.

Add ice water to full line on ice cream maker.

BUTTER PECAN VARIATION

1- 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/3 to 1/2 ounce butter extract

Add to above mixture and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

-- Submitted by Dee Turner

"This one was handed down from my Mom (who passed away at 91). And no, it doesn't require cooking, or raw eggs," Jeannie said. "Everyone says it is delicious. Also included is her recipe for orange sherbet. Also easy, also delicious."

HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM

2 cans evaporated milk

2 cans condensed milk

2 cups whole milk

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whole milk to fill container

Mix 2 cups whole milk with the pudding mix. Add canned milks and vanilla. Pour into freezer container. Fill to fill line with whole milk. I have used same recipe with 4-quart and 6-quart freezers, but ice cream made in the 4-quart freezer tastes richer.

-- Submitted by Jeannie

ORANGE SHERBET

2 liters orange soda

1 can condensed milk

1 large can crushed pineapple (with juice)

Put all ingredients in freezer container. Freeze.

-- Submitted by Jeannie

Favre sent in a basic ice cream recipe but offered suggestions for turning the basic recipe into different flavors.

BASIC ICE CREAM 1-2-3

1 can condensed milk

2 cans evaporated milk

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Splash of vanilla extract

Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

"You may add 1 bag chocolate chips, 4 to 5 bananas (peeled and sliced thin), 1 pint strawberries (hulled and cut up) or 5-6 fresh peaches, peeled and cut into chunks," Favre said. "I put everything in the blender to mix. Also with the peaches, I add almond extract and skip the vanilla. It makes a very smooth and creamy ice cream."

Favre also said that chunk pineapple and cherries could be added the basic recipe for a Hawaiian delight.

Coming next week

A Bradenton reader shares some awesome molasses recipes, and a Pass Christian reader shares an eggplant recipe from Galatoire's cookbook.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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