CLASSIC VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM

One 4-in [10-cm] vanilla bean

2 cups [480 ml] half-and-half or whole milk

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup [130 g] sugar

1 cup [240 ml] heavy cream

Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water, to be used as an ice bath.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the black seeds into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl. Add the pod and the half-and-half, and heat over simmering water until steaming. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until blended, then whisk in the sugar.

Whisk in some of the hot half-and-half and then pour the yolk mixture back into the top of the double boiler. Stir and cook over the simmering water until the mixture forms a custard and coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.

Immediately set the custard-filled pan in the ice bath and stir the custard occasionally until it cools to room temperature. Transfer to a container and stir in the cream. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Remove the vanilla pod with a fork.

Freeze the chilled custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours before serving.

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