1 whole vanilla bean (preferably Madagascar) or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan.
2. Split the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Use the blade of the knife, scrape the seeds out of both halves of the vanilla beans into the milk mixture. Add the vanilla bean pod to the mixture. If you're not using a vanilla bean, just stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature is about 170F, using an insta-read thermometer if you have one (the mixture should just start to get hot without actually coming to a simmer). Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the vanilla bean pods from the pot and stir in the heavy cream.
5. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
6. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions (it takes about 25 minutes in my Cuisinart).
7. Pour the semi-frozen mixture into a freezer-proof container, cover and freeze until firm.
8. To serve: because this is recipe does not include eggs, the mixture will freeze firmer than a custard based ice cream. I usually take the container of ice cream out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature about 5 minutes for easier scooping.