Recipes

Formentera Black Fig Semifreddo

29th September 2015

After my weekend in Rioja with Campo Viejo and a few days in charming San Sebastián, I flew to Ibiza and took a ferry to Formentera for a holiday with my family. We have been in this small Balearic island for a week already, spending days at the beach, cooking family meals and catching the last glimpse of summer. A few days ago I made a Black Fig Semifreddo for dessert, using local island figs.

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We are staying in a rustic villa near Sant Ferran, in the north of the island (you can read about my holiday here). Formentera is the smallest of Balearic islands and possibly the most chilled-out too, especially compared to nearby Ibiza.

Along the coast there are plunging limestone cliffs, secluded coves, white sandy beaches and clear turquoise seas. The rural landscape is characterised by pine woods and farm land where grapes, olives, almonds, carob and figs are grown.

The fig tree is somewhat a symbol of Formentera with its peculiar low and wide shape: the main branch is usually removed and the lower branches are propped up with wooden stakes to let them grow horizontally.

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This shape has the purpose of protecting the figs from the wind, but also to make harvesting easier.

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The harvest takes place at the end of summer, from the end of August until mid-September so unfortunately I didn’t find any tree still bearing fruits this week. Luckily I found some figs to buy from our local shop.

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They were quite small, with a purple skin and a sweet, red pulp.

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I resisted the temptation to eat them straight away and used them to make jam instead. I have been looking for more figs to buy in Formentera, but haven’t found any. It seems the fig season is officially over, so it was a lucky chance that I was able to create this recipe! :)

I used the jam to make semifreddo ice-cream: a quick and easy recipe that requires few ingredients and tools. All you need is an electric mixer to whip the cream (unless you are strong enough to whip it by hand), beat the yolks with sugar and add any jam you like. Freeze overnight and the job is done. No churning, no ice-cream machine required!

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Ingredients

Recipe adapted from My Best Days Ever.

  • 350g (around 10-12) fresh figs
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 350ml whipping cream
  • 50ml double cream
  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Wash the figs, remove the stems (keep the skin on) and finely dice. Place them in a non-stick pan on a high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes add the brown sugar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the figs and brown sugar to caramelise for around 20 minutes until you have a jam-like consistency.

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Stir in the lemon juice and remove the pan from the heat to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the 50ml of cream and gently work it into the jam.

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks on high until they triple in volume for 10-15 minutes. Add the caster sugar slowly, ensuring it is well mixed with the eggs. The mixture should form a thick texture.

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In a clean bowl, whip the rest of the cream to soft peaks. Then slowly fold the cream into the egg mixture, careful not to lose the volume.

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Gently fold the fig jam into the cream.

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Place a large sheet of cling film over a plastic or metal container (I used a bread loaf tin). Pour the cream into the container, leaving the cling film to hang outside each side. Cover with a foil and place in the freezer for at least 12 hours.

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About 10-15 minutes before serving, take the tin out of the freezer and flip it upside down over a long tray, before slicing it.

Want to know more about my holiday? Read my Formentera travel post.

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