1 lb  Very ripe figs
   3 tbsp   Water
   1 1/2   cup  Whipping cream
   1/2   cup  Sugar -- plus:
   1 tbsp  Sugar
   3  Egg yolks
   Vanilla -- to taste
   Cognac or brandy (optional) -- to taste

Wash the figs, cut off the stem ends, and cut in   quarters into a non-corroding saucepan.  Add the water   and cook slowly until very tender, about 20 minutes,   stirring often.  The cooking time will depend on the   variety of fig you are using and how thick the skin   is.  Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor, or   put them through a food mill, or crush well with a  potato masher.  Warm 1 cup of the cream with the sugar  in a non-corroding saucepan, stirring occasionally,   until the sugar has dissolved.  Whisk the egg yolks   just enough to mix them and whisk in some of the hot   cream mixture to warm them.  Return to the pan and  cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the   custard coats the spoon.  Strain through a medium-fine   strainer into a container.  Add the remaining cream   and 1-1/2 cups of the fig puree.  Flavor to taste with  a few drops each of vanilla and Cognac or brandy.  Chill thoroughly.  Freeze according to the instructions with your ice-cream maker.