2vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
6 large egg yolks
Makes:6 to 10 servings (1 quart)
A good vanilla ice cream should be in every cook’s repertoire. And this one—extra-creamy and packed with vanilla beans—should be it. There are an unlimited number of pairings for vanilla ice cream, but try it alongside a warm slice of our Chocolate Pecan Pie or our Custardy Pumpkin Pie for a real treat.
Game plan: The ice cream base (unfrozen ice cream) can be made up to 2 days in advance, though it needs 3 to 4 hours to harden in the freezer after it’s been processed—unless, of course, you want soft serve.
1Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside. Combine cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla beans and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 12 minutes.
2Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a second large bowl until smooth. Remove cream mixture from heat and slowly pour about 1 cup into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour cream-egg mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats the spoon, about 2 minutes. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the custard, which should not run back in on itself.)
3Remove custard from heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a third large heatproof bowl to remove any lumps, scraping as much vanilla bean through the strainer as possible. Remove vanilla bean pods from the strainer and add to the custard. Place ice cream base over the ice bath to cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, remove the vanilla bean pods and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.