Chocolate Fig Ice Cream

This recipe comes from the 1912 edition of Lowney’s Cook Book, so far my favorite cookbook in my growing collection of vintage books. I was lucky enough to happen across it at an antique fair near my town. Although the book has been digitized and is available online, there’s something magical about handling an original copy.

Red book with stylized illustration of cocoa trees on cover. Cover text reads "Lowney's Cook Book illustrated revised edition."

The book was published by the Walter M. Lowney Company, which was a company that primarily produced chocolate (I’m pretty sure the illustration on the cover is meant to represent cocoa trees). While it is a general cookbook with recipes for all different types of food, there is definitely a focus on chocolate in the dessert chapters. Since I’m always in the mood for eating chocolate, I decided to try one of the chocolate recipes, Chocolate Fig Ice Cream, for my first foray into this book.

Chocolate Fig Ice Cream (quantities adjusted for a 1.5 quart ice cream maker)

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp finely chopped figs
  • red wine (optional)
  1. Soak the figs in just enough red wine to cover them for at least one hour (or, if you don’t want to use wine, just skip straight to the next step).
  2. Drain the figs and chop them as finely as possible either by hand or with a food processor.
  3. Melt the chocolate, sugar, and 1/2 cup cream together in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until smooth, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from burning.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients (Note: I used 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of milk to achieve the consistency of cream. You can adjust the ratio of milk to heavy cream depending on the fat content of the cream and your desired taste).
  5. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it is completely cold.
  6. Freeze in a 1.5 quart ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Pack the ice cream in a container and place in the freezer until firm.
Three scoops of chocolate ice cream in a blue and white dish.

Tasting notes:

Although I don’t really taste the figs or wine individually, they seem to add richness and depth to the overall chocolate flavor. The texture of the ice cream is fairly creamy overall, although there are some hard bits of fig scattered throughout; if this bothers you, you might want to puree the figs and strain them before putting them in the ice cream. Like many homemade ice creams, this does have a tendency to freeze fairly hard (although not as badly as my peach ice cream – the small amount of alcohol in the wine might have helped with this). This can be counteracted by leaving the ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes to thaw before scooping.

This is a very decadent ice cream and definitely satisfies my chocolate cravings. I’ll be sure to make more chocolate recipes from this book in the future!


Howard, M.W. (1912). Lowney’s cook book. Boston: The Walter M. Lowney Co.

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