1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1. Heat milk, cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, and vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occationally to desolve sugar, until steam appears and the milk is hot (175 degrees), about 5 minutes.
2. When the milk mixture is hot, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar together until smooth. Temper the egg mixture by whisking in 1 cup of hot milk mixture. Then, slowly whisk the tempered egg yolks back into the remaining hot milk. Continue to cook the custard over medium heat until it is very hot but not simering (180 to 185 degrees).
3. Strain the custard (if using vanilla bean) into a bowl set in an ice bath ad let cool, stirring occationally, for about 10 minutes. Remove the custard bowl from ice bath, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 3 hours (or over night).
4. Stir chilled custard and pour into the ice cream machine canister. Churn, following manufacturer's instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice ceam. Transfer to an air-tight container and press plastic wrap flush against the surface. Cover the container and freeze until the ice cream is firm, about 3 hours.
Alysun's notes: I used vanilla extract, but did not add it until after the custard mixture was chilled, but not churned. The recipe churns VERY quickly, my double batch took 30 minutes in the machine. We happily ate our ice cream soft, skipping the extra 3 hours freezing time. This was the BEST homemade icecream I've ever had. I hope you enjoy it!
The recipe notes say to be careful not to simmer the milk/egg mixture. Also, do not substitute lowfat or nonfat milk, light cream, or half-and-half. I've found the recipes in America's Test Kitchen to be right on when I follow the directions exactly!