Fig Gelato

Dried Black Mission figs and light brown sugar provide caramelized sweetness and depth in this rich and creamy dessert.

Fig Gelato

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs

Dried figs give this rich and creamy gelato from author Katie Quinn a deep, caramelized flavor and subtle sweetness. Though gelato strays from traditional recipes, Quinn gives the option to use light brown sugar instead of white in the fig sauce, which will provide a deeper, more molasses-forward intensity, perfect for the dried figs that flavor the sauce. Lucano amaro is available at specialty alcohol shops or online at


Fig Sauce

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) amaro (such as Lucano) 

  • 1/2 cup dried Black Mission figs (about 3 ounces) (about 12 small figs), roughly chopped 

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or light brown sugar

Gelato Base

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


Make the fig sauce:

  1. Place amaro in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Remove from heat; stir in chopped figs. Let figs soak in warm amaro until plump and juicy, about 20 minutes. Drain figs (discard amaro, or reserve for another use), and transfer figs to a small bowl. Rinse saucepan. Return figs to cleaned saucepan; add 1/4 cup water, butter, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until figs are soft and jammy with a bit of thickened caramelized fig sauce visible on bottom of pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Make the gelato base:

  1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a medium saucepan until well combined. Add milk, cream, and salt; whisk until combined. Cook over medium, whisking often, until a thermometer reads 170°F, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove saucepan from heat, and whisk in fig sauce.

  2. Transfer gelato base mixture to a heatproof airtight container. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

  3. Ideally, about 1 hour before you’ll eat the gelato, pour chilled gelato base mixture into the frozen freezer bowl of an ice cream maker or gelato machine; churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until gelato has fluffed up and is firm enough to scoop with a spoon, about 40 minutes.

  4. To achieve ideal consistency, transfer gelato to a freezer-safe airtight container, and freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes or up to 3 hours. If gelato is frozen for longer periods (more than 3 hours), take it out of the freezer and thaw 5 minutes before serving. Gelato is best eaten within a couple of days of churning.

To Make Ahead

Gelato base mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

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