Classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 egg yolks
Pour the half-and-half into a heavy saucepan. Place the vanilla bean on a work surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, then add the seeds and bean halves to the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Return the saucepan to the stovetop over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until blended. Form a kitchen towel into a ring and place the bowl on top to prevent it from moving. Gradually pour the hot half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the same saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, about 5 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil.
Pour the custard through a medium-mesh sieve set over a clean bowl. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 5 cups; serves 8.