In a large saucepan combine milk and heavy cream. Split vanilla bean lengthwise. Using a small paring knife, scrap out seeds and then put seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow flavors to steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium stainless steel bowl, combine yolks and sugar, whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until it reaches a pale yellow color, and sugar is dissolved.
Reheat milk mixture until very hot but not boiling, and slowly pour about a third of it into eggs, whisking constantly. Then pour this mixture back into the saucepan with remaining milk. Over medium heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thick and can coat the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove bean pods and allow to cool in a large bowl to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Ice cream can also be made one to two days in advance.) Using an ice cream machine, process according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve when firm enough to scoop.Variations:
- Vanilla honey: Replace sugar with 3/4 cup honey.
- Vanilla rosewater: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater to mixture when it is cooled.
- Vanilla malt: Whisk in 1 cup malted milk to mixture when it is just taken off the heat before chilling. Malt balls can be added when ice cream is almost done in the machine.
- Orange Lavender Ice Cream
- Fennel Seed Basil Vanilla Bean Ice Cream