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French Vanilla Ice Cream


4 cups half-and-half

2 cups granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean split lengthwise

6 egg yolks


Set a fine strainer over a medium bowl.

Put about 2 inches of ice in a larger bowl, add enough water to cover the cubes, set bowl with the strainer into the ice bath.

Combine the half-and-half, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow.

Gradually whisk about 1 1/2 cups of the hot half-and-half mixture into the beaten yolks.

Transfer the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Take care not to overheat the mixture or it will curdle.

Immediately strain the custard through the prepared sieve into a bowl (sitting in the ice bath).

Immediately refrigerate the custard and stir every few minutes until it is quite cool.

Remove the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds with a spoon, adding the seeds to the custard.

Cover the custard and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Pack the ice cream in plastic containers and freeze for several hours before serving.