Real Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
With a small sharp knife cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Place the milk and cream in a small, heavy saucepan. Using the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the milk and add both halves to the saucepan. Set the saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Using a ladle, add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the hot milk in the saucepan and stir well with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Remove the custard from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean mixing bowl, pressing down on the strainer with a rubber spatula to get as much liquid as possible into the bowl. Discard the vanilla bean halves and any other solids sticking to the strainer. Add the vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir the custard for 5 minutes with a whisk until cooled slightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions.
Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight plastic container and store in the freezer for up to 1 week.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2005