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Real Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • Yield: About 3 1/2 cups


  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • With a small sharp knife cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.
  • Place the milk and cream in a small, heavy saucepan. Using the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the milk and add both halves to the saucepan.
  • Set the saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
  • Crack the eggs and whisk the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale yellow and well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Using a ladle, add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and whisk to combine.
  • Add the egg mixture to the hot milk in the saucepan and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  • Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. This is called a custard.
  • Remove the custard from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean mixing bowl, pressing down on the strainer with a rubber spatula to get as much liquid as possible into the bowl.
  • Discard the vanilla bean halves and any other solids sticking to the strainer.
  • Add the vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir the custard for 5 minutes with a whisk until cooled slightly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturerís directions.
  • Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight plastic container and store in the freezer for up to 1 week.
  • This recipe calls for a lot of hot liquidóbe careful!
  • Pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard ensures that no thick ìskinî will form on the top.