Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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With last Sunday's dinner in the rearview mirror, I am ready to gear up for this coming Sunday.  With the dessert I will be serving, I am in need of some ice cream.  I certainly wanted to go the homemade route.  And with the way this batch turned out, I am glad I did!   

Vanilla ice cream is the blank canvas of the frozen dessert world.  I think it is important for any adventurous cook to have a quality, go-to homemade version.  It is the perfect accompaniment to just about any dessert and can be dressed up in a variety of ways, like with a drizzle of chocolate syrup for a simple example.  As I have discussed before, I use a little liqueur or alcohol in the frozen base of most of my ice creams and sorbets to keep them from freezing rock hard.  This recipe takes this step one step further.  Light corn syrup is cooked with the custard.  The combination of the vodka (vanilla flavor is nice if you have on hand☺) and the corn syrup makes for the ultimate creamy ice cream texture.  
Printable Recipe

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
6 extra large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon vodka

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 cup of heavy cream, milk, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.   Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and the bean to the warm milk mixture.  Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the yolks, then scrape the tempered yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the fine-mesh strainer and stir in the cream.  Return the vanilla bean to the custard, add the vanilla extract and vodka, and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the custard thoroughly, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.  When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

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