Fruit compote has a deeply unsexy image as a boarding house breakfast. Even so, winter fruit such as apples and pears lightly stewed with dried summer specimens such as apricots can make a surprisingly effective and appropriate dessert on a December day, when the idea of imported strawberries and raspberries from the southern hemisphere seems daft.
The ice cream recipe will yield almost a litre, a generous amount for just four portions of compote, but it is not worth making any smaller quantity. Of course any leftovers will be good another time.
To make the rice pudding, put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Transfer the rice pudding to a bowl to cool.
For the ice cream, heat the milk and split vanilla beans in a saucepan. When the milk comes to the boil, remove from the heat. Fish out the vanilla beans and scrape the small black seeds back into the milk.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture pales in colour. Then slowly, carefully, and while still whisking, trickle the hot milk onto the egg mixture.
Return this custard to a low heat and cook, stirring continuously, until it slightly but perceptibly thickens. Stir in the cream and set aside until cool.
When cold, combine the custard with the cooked rice pudding and churn the resulting mixture in an ice cream maker.
To make the fruit compote, peel and core the apple and pears. Cut them into quarters and place in a saucepan with the dried apricots, apple juice, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the fruit is cooked but still firm. Leave to cool.
Serve the fruit compote with the ice cream and brandysnaps.
© 2000 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.