Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts

Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Drizzle, Grilled Figs & Walnuts BoulderLocavore.com

Looking for a simple, seasonal dessert recipe that is out of the ordinary?  Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts is a fantastic combination of sweet grilled sweet figs paired with creamy, easy Mascarpone Ice Cream oozing with honey flavor, rippled with a balsamic reduction and topped with chopped walnuts.  Are you hungry now?

Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts. A simple, seasonal dessert recipe that will surprise and delight anyone who eats it! BoulderLocavore.com

I’d love to say I am highly educated about FigsI’m not.  My main experience with figs is through their marriage with the ‘Newton’.  Loved them as a kid and frankly never considered the gooey, sweet cookie center may have originated in nature.  How I went from that to creating Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Drizzle, Grilled Figs and Walnuts is a bit of a round about path but you’ll be very glad I landed here once you taste this dessert!

It’s only been in the past years as I’ve overtly sought out produce to master that figs have surfaced on my radar.  But I avoid them.   Nestled amidst friendly, familiar summer fruits, the box of figs sits, like big fat brown-and-purple teardrops, foreign and intimidating.

Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts. A simple, seasonal dessert recipe that will surprise and delight anyone who eats it! BoulderLocavore.com

I have not been able to bridge the what-do-I-do with-these feeling to envisage a reason to invite figs home with me.  This is not my first trip at this rodeo.  I’ve picked up indigenous produce around the world wondering how it might transform from its natural, seemingly inedible form, into something delicious and alluring.  My natural instinct when experiencing this complete lack of inspiration is to start basic; prepare the produce as naturally as possible to explore its characteristics, texture, and flavors in its most natural form (kind of like getting to know a new friend in their element.)

This week boxes of Brown Turkey Figs sat primly amidst Donut Peaches, ripe raspberries, and apricots and instead of walking by hoping they did not spot me, I went in.  I chatted with the produce guy about what Brown Turkey Figs were (a popular variety of fig) and learned people really like them; they’d just arrived and were flying off the shelf.  Somehow bolstered by feeling in sync with the clearly in vogue figs, I grabbed two boxes, knowing immediate what I’d do with them.  Grill them.  Maybe not the most obvious choice but many fruits are fantastic when gently grilled.  Their natural sweetness blossoms and is contrasted by the smoky grill notes.

Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts. A simple, seasonal dessert recipe that will surprise and delight anyone who eats it! BoulderLocavore.com

Of course when you have a new guest visiting, you want them to feel comfortable amongst new surroundings.  The grilled figs certainly called for a surrounding dish.  The idea of making Mascarpone Ice Cream came to mind, with Honey (a wonderful sweetener with figs), Walnuts (another classic escort) with a Balsamic Vinegar reduction rippling through the ice cream.  As soon as it was all planned out I quickly forget this was the fig debut in my kitchen and it felt like a comfortable gang of upscale friends were coming together for a perfect get together!

Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts. A simple, seasonal dessert recipe that will surprise and delight anyone who eats it! BoulderLocavore.com

The Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream is simple and quick.  I decided not to toil over a custard process but rather combined some simple mascarpone, honey, half and half, lemon juice and salt, blending it up and pouring it into my ice cream maker.  It turned out creamy and light with a clear flavor of mascarpone and honey.  When lightly rippling the balsamic reduction together with the figs and walnuts it was nothing short of perfection.   Certainly worth the wait for the figs!

Grilled Figs, Walnuts with Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple

This ice cream recipe is straight forward and certainly not fussy. Everything is added to a blender then frozen in an ice cream maker. To ensure proper freezing I suggest the ice cream be made the night before planning to eat it and frozen in a separate container overnight for the best effect; I personally do that with all homemade ice cream. The flavors for this dish are sophisticated without being pretentious. It's a flavorful comforting summer dessert.


  • ½ cup aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese
  • ½ cup Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Figs (1 per planned serving), ripe but firm
  • Olive Oil for basting figs before grilling
  • Walnuts, chopped (1-2 tablespoons per serving)


  1. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a high simmer, stirring constantly, until reduced to 3 tablespoons (check frequently so the vinegar does reduce more than desired). Place balsamic reduction in a small container in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. In a blender combine the half and half, mascarpone cheese, honey, lemon juice and salt. Blend to combine.
  3. Pour mixture into a prepared ice cream maker and process to manufacturer’s directions.
  4. Select a freezer-safe container to store the ice cream. Note: the balsamic reduction is strongly flavored and very little is needed. You will drizzle approximately two tablespoons throughout the ice cream (method following) which is ample and leaves around a tablespoon to drizzle on finished servings. Very slowly drizzle a very small stream of the balsamic reduction into the bottom of the container.
  5. Spoon finished ice cream onto the balsamic reduction and drizzle more on top of the ice cream. Continue until all the ice cream is in the container and the balsamic reduction is interwoven through the ice cream. Cover and place ice cream in the freezer overnight. Refrigerate the remaining balsamic reduction in a sealed container.
  6. To grill the figs (should be done just before serving) : heat gas grill to 350 degrees. Clean and oil the grill. Cut figs in half lengthwise and paste the inside with olive oil.
  7. Place figs on heated grill face down just until grill marks form (approximately 2 minutes; less time for small sized figs). Turn over and grill on the outside for 1 minute. Figs should be seared but not overly soft.
  8. Remove and allow to sit five minutes. While the figs rest, scoop out ice cream portions into serving dishes. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Place two fig halves on each portion and drizzle with a very small amount of the balsamic reduction.

This delicious recipe was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated in 2016.


    • says

      Hi Jaime! Are you local to Boulder? I bought these figs at Lucky’s Market in North Boulder. They are not Colorado local but are certainly seasonal. Thank you for reading and your kind comments!

  1. says

    I really love figs! But I don’t buy or cook with them a lot. Ironic. This looks delicious. Also have lived fig / prosciutto / blue cheese / balsamic pizza before too 🙂

  2. says

    Wow… that looks amazing!!!
    I love ice cream, mascarpone and figs…
    It is almost like you have tailor made this dessert to me.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement says

    I, too, don’t know too much about the ever mysterious fig fruit. I wouldn’t mind getting to know it on a more intimate basis though and I think this ice cream recipe can make that happen. LOL Thanks so much for sharing!

    • says

      Figs are not a welcoming looking fruit to me. So oddly shaped and strangely colored. It’s like animal camouflage in the wild, the type that is off putting. You’d almost thing they do not want to be eaten!

  4. says

    As a follower of your site for quite some time now, this may be the recipe I am most excited to try to date! I am a huge fan of figs, and the idea of enjoying them with all of these additional ingredients (that totally work well together) all in an ice cream, is nothing less than heavenly!

  5. says

    I recently switched to an all vegetarian diet and I see a lot of recipes that have figs in them. I have never used them in cooking before, but this ice cream dish sounds like an amazing way to test the waters!

  6. Jeanine says

    Wow. I love ice cream but I can say I’ve never tried anything like this! This sounds really delicious, especially with the Balsamic ripple. I would love to give this a try!

  7. Nikki Wayne says

    Oh, my! This is what we called love at summer! I can’t live without ice cream on this kind of weather!


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