Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

My mother loves ice cream! I can take it or leave it, but if I'm going to eat it, it's got to be genuine--no artificial anything. Real Vanilla Ice Cream can be difficult to find (have you read the ingredient list on your ice cream lately?) so I'd just as soon make my own. When my parents are coming for Sunday Dinner, I often make this to go with a fruit pie, crisp or cobbler for dessert. Farm fresh local eggs in the custard give this ice cream its buttery yellow color!

3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 whole vanilla bean (I use a bean from my bottle of Homemade Vanilla Extract)
2 eggs, beaten in a small bowl or glass measuring cup
1 1/2 cups Umpqua Dairy heavy whipping cream (it's local and it's not ultra-pasteurized)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Stir the sugar, salt and whole milk together in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the insides into the milk. Add the pod and scald over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture almost comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs. Whisk this back into the remaining hot milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber scraper until it begins to thicken. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a wire strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg white. Stir this custard well and chill at least three hours or overnight. I usually put the vanilla pod back in the custard to steep overnight too.

When the custard is thoroughly chilled, remove the vanilla bean and whisk in the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Pour into canister and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Homemade ice cream should be eaten within 2 or 3 days or it tends to become icy.

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