Figs two ways – plump fresh figs and fig preserves – and creamy coconut spiked with a bit of spice-infused brandy pair up in this Brandied Coconut and Fresh Fig Ice Pops (Paletas)… A perfect adult treat on a blazing hot summer’s day!
To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.
~~ Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine
Figs are indeed an “exquisite” pleasure! While these plump and flavorful gems are currently available in our local market, they won’t be around for long. We plan an enjoying them while we can. I love to stuff figs with a bit of gorgonzola, wrap them with prosciutto, and grill them. I love them on a grilled pizza like my Fresh Fig and Soppressata Pizza. Figs are available locally in June and then again in August through October.
While I do not consider myself to be much of a pastry maker, I do fancy myself to be better-than-average at creating frozen desserts. While on vacation in Wimberley, Texas last month, I purchased ice pop molds from Kiss the Cook in Wimblerley. I was “chomping at the bit” to try them out; what better way than with some luscious fresh figs? Fresh figs (also known as fresh anjeer) are beloved in Indian cuisine, and I decided to incorporate some Indian flavors in my ice pop.
A small amount of brandy is infused with whole cardamom and star anise. The brandy adds depth to the ice pop, and the lower freezing point makes the end product a little softer. The whole cardamom pods get smashed with a kitchen mallet, and go into a small saucepan with the whole star anise and the brandy. After it is reduced by half, it is strained and added to the coconut cream portion of the ice pop. Little of the alcohol remains, but the flavor boost is significant.
Layering these is a bit of trouble. You will need a nice flat spot to set the pops while they freeze. I do realize this is a problem in most households. 😥 The process goes something like this: Infuse the brandy, strain, and set aside until cool. Whisk the coconut milk, cream of coconut, and cooled brandy together. Stir in the chopped fresh figs, then spoon the mixture into the molds to about 1/3 full. Set them carefully in the freezer. Thin the fig preserves with a little bit of brandy. Note: If the ratio of brandy to preserves or brandy to coconut cream is too high, your ice pops will not freeze! After an hour in the freezer, spoon the brandy and preserves mixture over the partially frozen coconut cream. You just want a thin ribbon of preserves. This will be the weak spot on your ice pops when you unmold them. Top with the remaining coconut cream and figs. You don’t need to freeze the fig preserves prior to adding. Leave about 1/4″ at the top for expansion. Finish the ice pops according to your specific molds. This Epicurious Primer has some great tips…
In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, ice pops are known as paletas. Given our extreme summer heat and humidity, you may see more recipes for these frozen treats, and when I can’t make my own, I may be looking for a paletero – a street seller of paletas and helados (ice cream). It may be a means of survival. 😉
Plump fresh figs and fig preserves, creamy coconut spiked with spice-infused brandy pair up in a frozen treat sure to cool you off on a hot summer's day!
30 minPrep Time
5 hr, 30 Total Time
- 2 tablespoons cardamom pods, smashed
- 3 star anise
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 cup cream of coconut see notes
- 4 fresh figs, diced
- 2 teaspoons brandy
- 1/4 cup fig preserves
- 2 tablespoons coconut water see notes
To smash the cardamom pods, place them on a chopping board, cover with a cloth, then hit them with a kitchen mallet. This will break the pods open, and allow the seeds to infuse the brandy.
Scrape the cardamom pods into a small saucepan. Add the brandy and star anise. Simmer the brandy until it is reduced by about half. You want about 2 tablespoons of the spiced brandy to go into your coconut mixture. The pods themselves may drink up some brandy, so feel free to add a bit if you need to.
Strain the brandy, and set aside to cool.
Whisk the coconut milk, cream of coconut, and spiced brandy together. Add the chopped figs.
Fill the molds to about 1/3 full. You will need to use a spoon to distribute the fig chunks evenly. Save some for the bottom section!
Carefully place in the freezer. Chill until at least semi-frozen - about an hour.
While the first section freezes, make the fig ribbon. Whisk together the 2 teaspoons brandy with the preserves and coconut water.
Divide the fig ribbon mixture between the molds. You should have a ribbon about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.
Top each mold with enough of the remaining mixture to bring to 1/4" from the top of the mold. This allows for expansion.
Freeze another 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
Carefully remove the ice pops from their molds using your preferred method .
Sweetened cream of coconut provides the sweet element in this ice pop. You don't want to use anything granular. If you can't find Goya or similar, substitute 1/4 cup simple syrup and 3/4 cup coconut milk for 1 cup coconut cream.