Yield: Yields about 3 cups.
Fill a large bowl with a few inches of ice water and have ready a medium metal bowl that will fit in the larger bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream, and vanilla bean (if using) to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot liquid into the yolk mixture; whisk until well blended.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and set the pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens slightly, enough that if you draw a line with a fingertip through the sauce on the back of the spoon, it should hold the shape of the line; an instant-read thermometer will register 175°F. This can take 2 to 10 min., depending on your pan and your stove.
Don’t let the custard simmer or boil. Immediately strain the custard through a medium sieve into the medium metal bowl and set the bowl in the ice-water bath. Stir occasionally until very cold (at least below 50°F), about 45 min. Fish out the vanilla bean, if using, and use your fingers to scrape any remaining seeds into the custard; stir to distribute the seeds. Or, if using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
Freeze the custard in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Meanwhile, put a medium bowl in the freezer to chill. When the ice cream is ready, scrape it into the frozen bowl. Serve immediately (it will be soft) or freeze for up to two days. Let the ice cream soften slightly before serving from the freezer.
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Very good basic vanilla bean ice cream. The recipe works perfect and is easy.
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