Go to the store right now and get yourself a vanilla bean. Make this ice cream. Perfect, rich vanilla flavor with little specs of vanilla bean seeds. I really think this was the very best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had.
David Lebovitz has a cookbook called, The Perfect Scoop. I’ve heard tons of good things about it. I haven’t picked this book up yet, but he posted the vanilla ice cream recipe on his web site.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
2 cup heavy cream
A few drops of vanilla extract
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.
Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.