Califonia Bountiful

Balsamic, fig and pistachio frozen custard

Smoother and thicker than ice cream, frozen custard is a Midwestern delicacy that's attracting fans across the U.S. This version is a perfect partner to chef Gabe Garcia's spiced almond shortbread cookies.

Executive Chef Gabe Garcia
Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars, Oxnard

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Balsamic reduction
2 quarts balsamic vinegar

Frozen custard
5 cups milk or non-dairy
mocha mix creamer
2 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups quartered fresh figs
1 cup pistachio kernels
13 egg yolks


To make balsamic reduction: In a pot, bring vinegar to a low simmer over medium heat. Let reduce gradually by about two-thirds or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Let cool. If it is too thick to pour in a slow stream, add a little hot water.

To make frozen custard: Combine milk, sugar, figs and pistachios in a pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Gradually stream 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the yolks while whisking vigorously. Then whisk the warm egg mixture back into the original pot with figs and pistachios. Return to medium heat and continue stirring until custard thickens.

If you prefer a smoother finished product, strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer. For a more textured product, keep the pieces of figs and pistachios. Let custard cool and refrigerate overnight.

Churn custard in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Swirl in balsamic reduction just before removing and storing. Freeze ice cream for 12 hours or, for best results, overnight.

Serves 6 to 8

Photo by David Whittemore

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