Simple and comforting, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is what to serve for sundaes or milkshakes. But make no mistake, this rich and flavorful ice cream is better than any you can buy!Adapted from William Sonoma Ice Cream cookbook
Combine the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a saucepan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture, then add the vanilla bean. Heat over medium heat until small bubbles form and it starts to steam, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream. Whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Slowly add ½ cup of the warm milk to the egg mixture while continuously whisking. Add another ½ cup of milk and whisk again.
Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 4 to 6 minutes. It should coat the back of the spoon and leave a trail when you draw your finger through it, but custard should not boil.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, then discard the vanilla bean (see Recipe Notes)
Put the bowl in an ice bath (half ice/half water). Stir occasionally until cooled. Place a piece of plastic wrap of the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze per the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and smooth over using a small offset spatula. Freeze for 2 to 4 hours to allow ice cream to firm up. Serve and enjoy!
I use 1% milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand (even plant-based milk). Just know that the richness of the ice cream will be affected. Personally, 1% milk gives me just the richness I want without having that "coating your tongue" feeling.You can use the spent vanilla bean to make your own vanilla extract...just rinse, pop into a small jar, and cover with vodka.