From the Food Network
It’s that time of year and ice cream is calling my name. Loudly. And what better flavor to start with than vanilla? Especially when fresh strawberries are waiting in the fridge. This ice cream is so decadent and is perfectly simple. While this mixture does require cooking (a must if you really want to make good ice cream), there are no eggs, so this ends up smooth and creamy rather than custardy. Oh, you like custard ice cream? Don’t worry, I’ll get there soon!
I purchased an ice cream machine (check here) to use. Why? First, it is a rather inexpensive piece of kitchen equipment. Second, it can be used for gelato and sorbet as well (ummm, yes please). Third, it allows me to work less (no hand cranking here, but go for it if you want!) yet still create a quality dessert. Lastly, by making my own ice cream, I can control what ingredients are in it. Simply, ice cream is maybe eggs, sugar and some type of cream (plus your flavorings). All pronounceable things. Look at your favorite grocery store ice cream and you will likely find many many more (undesirable) ingredients.
So back to this vanilla ice cream. Eat it plain. Add homemade cookies. Eat it with pie. Enjoy it with a slice of cake. Throw on some sprinkles (a la toddler style). Or maybe add some strawberries. Whatever you do, eat it slowly, close your eyes, and enjoy life a little more while you do.
2 c half-and-half
1 c whipping cream
1 c sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.
Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.
NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.