Serves 6 to 8 (Makes about 1 quart)
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This ice cream tastes like it came from an ice cream shop—in other words, like sweet victory. Making an extra-cold base and freezing the churned ice cream in a shallow pan contributed to its dense creaminess. Subbing corn syrup for some of the granulated sugar prevented water molecules from forming large ice crystals. And since corn syrup doesn’t lower the freezing point of the ice cream as much as sugar does, our ice cream froze faster and remained firmer at home-freezer temperatures. Two teaspoons of vanilla extract can be substituted for the vanilla bean; stir the extract into the cold custard in step 3. An instant-read thermometer is critical for the best results. Working quickly in step 3 will prevent melting and refreezing of the ice cream. If using a canister-style ice-cream machine, freeze the empty canister for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours before churning. For self-refrigerating machines, prechill the canister by running the machine for 5 to 10 minutes. If making the variation, freeze the crystallized ginger for 15 minutes before adding it to the ice cream maker.
1 vanilla bean
1¾ cups heavy cream 1¼ cups whole milk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (4⅓ ounces), divided ⅓ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon table salt 6 large egg yolks
1 Place 8- or 9-inch-square metal baking pan in freezer. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out vanilla seeds. Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
2 While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and cool completely, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. (Large bowl should register 40 degrees; small bowl will freeze solid.)
3 Remove custards from refrigerator and freezer. Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard. Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved; mixture should register around 30 degrees. Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice-cream machine. Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer ice cream to frozen baking pan and press plastic wrap on surface. Return to freezer until firm around edges, about 1 hour.
4 Transfer ice cream to airtight container, pressing firmly to remove any air pockets, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Serve. (Ice cream can be stored for up to 5 days.)
Premium Triple-Ginger Ice Cream
Substitute one thinly sliced 3-inch piece fresh ginger and 2 teaspoons ground ginger for vanilla bean seeds in step 1. In step 3, add ½ cup chopped crystallized ginger to ice cream maker during final minute of churning.