Note: You will need several hours to prepare the ice cream, which can also be made the day before.
This frozen treat is one of our sexy vanilla recipes.
Roughly chop figs with brown sugar and kirsch in a blender or food processor. Pour into a bowl, and refrigerate.
In a small saucepan, combine 3 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cup superfine sugar, pod, and seeds. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles appear on rim, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool at least 30 minutes, then stir in 2 teaspoons extract. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 to 3 hours.
Remove pod. Place vanilla mixture in an ice cream machine; follow manufacturer's instructions. When done, fold in fig mixture, place in an airtight container, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
To make meringue shells: Preheat oven to 325°. Draw 4 (4-inch) circles on a piece of parchment and place on a baking sheet. Add egg whites to bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment; beat on medium until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Continue mixing while adding 1 cup sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Increase speed to high, and beat until whites are stiff and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce to low and add cornstarch, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon extract, and salt; continue whisking for 30 seconds until incorporated.
Spoon meringue onto circles, making the sides slightly higher than the center. Place in oven, and reduce heat to 250°; bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until dry and hollow-sounding when lightly tapped. Turn off heat, and open oven door about 5 inches. Let sit in oven for 1/2 hour; remove and cool completely on parchment.
To make vanilla whipped cream: Beat 1 cup heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl until peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; stir to combine.
To serve: Slice whole figs (if using). Add a few scoops of ice cream to center of each meringue (save leftover ice cream to enjoy later on). Arrange sliced figs on top; serve with whipped cream on the side.