The best ice cream

We've been making a lot of ice cream ever since I got an ice cream maker for my 28th birthday. The rhubarb one was a big hit (that was pre-blogging), and so was Markus' black cherry ice cream, oh and the apple one served with caramel sauce. Sorry, getting lost in ice cream memories here.... But a few days ago we made the best one so far. It's a simple vanilla ice cream, but sometimes the simple really is the most delicious.

This is how vanilla ice cream is supposed to taste! Made with real vanilla. Did you know that fake vanilla - synthetic vanillin - that is used in cheap ice cream (well not only cheap actually, the "exclusive" brands also use it) is made from rotted wood? A real vanilla bean costs 20 kronor here (less than 3 dollars). So worth it.

It's strawberry season, and because of the heat wave the price of beautiful deep red Swedish strawberries have plumetted, and what's better than home made vanilla ice cream and fresh sun soaked strawberries? Well, this evening I decided to do something different and make a nectarine-passion fruit compote, to be served warm with the ice cream. Delicious! The idea comes from my friend Sara who served something similar as desert on our latest book circle meeting.

So, here's our best ice cream recipe to date. The inspiration comes, as so often, from our pastry guru Jan Hedh. Note that the ice cream takes two days to make, and that you need an ice cream maker. The compote recipe is further down.

The best vanilla ice cream

1 vanilla bean
2½ dl cream
2½ dl milk
25 g agave nectar (you can also use honey or glucose)
120 g egg yolks (about 6)
125 g sugar

Day 1:
Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the rest of the vanilla bean together with cream, milk and agave nectar in a pot.

Whip the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture is light and airy.

Bring the cream and milk to a boil. Add it to the egg-sugar mixture, and mix well. Pour everything back into the pot and heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture holds 85°C.*

Strain the mixture into a bowl, and cool it quickly in an ice water bath. Cover with plastic film and put in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy!

* If you don't have a thermometer, you can do the "rose test": dip a large wooden spoon into the mixture. Lift it up and blow carefully on the back of the spoon. If the mixture forms "wrinkles" in a rose-like pattern, it has reached the correct temperature.

Compote of nectarine and passion fruit

serves 2

1 large nectarine (or 2 small ones, peaches works as well)
2 passion fruits
2 tsp butter
1½ tbsp agave nectar (can be substituted with honey)

Melt the butter over low heat. When it's sizzling, add the nectarine and the passion fruit. Add agave nectar. Let it bubble slowly for a minute or two. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

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