French Vanilla Ice Cream
1 C. sugar
1/4 t. salt
7 large egg yolks
1 1/2 C. half-and-half
1 C. heavy cream
1 T. vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean slit lengthwise (see note)
Using a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar and salt into egg yolks
until thickened and pale yellow and set aside. Pour the
half-and-half into a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, bring it to a
simmer, then set it aside.
Form a kitchen towel into a ring and place the bowl on top to
prevent it from tipping. Gradually pour the hot half-and-half
mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the
mixture to the same saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook,
stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spatula, until the
custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of the spatula when a
finger is drawn across it, about 5 minutes; do not allow it to boil.
Pour the custard through a medium mesh sieve set over a clean bowl.
Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and
vanilla extract. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, up to 12
if you want.
Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and process according to
the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a
container; cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or for up
to 3 days.
Note: If using a vanilla bean, place the vanilla bean on a
work surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half
lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds from the vanilla
bean, then add the seeds and bean halves to the half-and-half when
it is placed in the saucepan.
Bring the half-and-half mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 10 to 30 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean and proceed with the recipe as directed,
omitting the vanilla extract.
For bittersweet chocolate-laced vanilla ice cream, add 1 cup shaved
bittersweet chocolate to the machine when the ice cream is
semi-frozen. Allow the machine to mix in the chocolate and proceed
with the recipe as directed.
For White Russian ice cream, add 1/4 cup vodka and 1/4 cup coffee
liqueur before freezing. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Makes 1 quart.