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The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

An electric ice cream maker removes the time-consuming task of hand turning the cream to freeze it, so homemade ice creams and sorbets are easier to make. Note that this recipe requires an extra day for the custard to chill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 
  • 8 egg yolks 
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar. With the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the pan, then toss the pods into the pan. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until the mixture falls in a thick, wide ribbon when the whisk is lifted. Remove the vanilla pods from the milk mixture and reheat to a bare simmer. Slowly add the milk mixture to the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook gently over medium-low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thickened enough to coat the spoon, about 3 minutes. Draw a finger across the spoon. The custard is ready if it does not immediately bleed back together. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean storage container, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a tightly covered container and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).