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From Betsy at Recipelink.com, 08-30-2006
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Msg ID 3140746
ULTIMATE VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH VARIATIONS
Makes about 1 quart

3/4 cup sugar
3 cups half-and-half
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract*

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine sugar and half-and-half. Stir over high heat until bubbles form at pan edge (scalding, about 180 degrees), for 5-8 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs to blend, then whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Return egg mixture to pan and stir over medium-low heat with a flexible spatula-scraper, scraping pan bottom and sides thoroughly for even cooking, until custard thickly coats a metal spoon (about 190 degrees), 8-10 minutes.

Add vanilla to custard, then immediately nest pan in ice water and stir custard often until mixture is cold, 10-15 minutes. Poor cold custard through a fine strainer into a bowl, then pour mixture into an ice cream maker (1 quart or larger); or, strain mixture directly into ice cream maker. Discard residue. Freeze as directed until mixture is firm enough to scoop.

Serve softly frozen, or freeze airtight. For best flavor and texture, serve within the week.

*To use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, slit pod (about 7 inches) open lengthwise with a small sharp knife. Scrape seed from pod, add seed and pod to the cream mixture, and heat. Remove pod from cold custard.

VARIATIONS:

NO-COOK ULTIMATE VANILLA ICE CREAM (WITHOUT EGGS):
Follow directions for Ultimate Vanilla Ice Cream, but omit eggs and do not heat. Instead, mix sugar, half-and-half and vanilla in a bowl, pour into ice cream maker and freeze as directed. Makes about 1 quart.

VERY BERRY ICE CREAM:
In a blender, whirl 1 cup each rinsed raspberries and blackberries until smoothly pureed. Rub puree through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard seeds. Mix 2/3 cup finely mashed strawberries and 6 tablespoons sugar with puree. Follow directions for Ultimate Vanilla Ice Cream, reducing half-and-half to 2 cups. Add berry mixture to cold custard in ice cream maker. Freeze as directed.
Makes about 1 quart.

BISCOTTI CRUNCH ESPRESSO ICE CREAM:
Put 6 tablespoons finely ground espresso roast or other dark-roast coffee in a paper-lined coffee filter set over a pitcher. Pour 1 1/3 cups hot water (about 190 degrees) into filter and let drip through. Measure and add water if needed to make 1 cup of coffee. Follow directions for Ultimate Vanilla Ice Cream, and add coffee. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze as directed. When ice cream is almost firm enough to scoop, open container and add 1 cup chopped almond biscotti (recipe) (chop biscotti into 1/2-inch chunks) and 2/3 cup coarsely chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans. Close container and freeze until mixture is firm enough to scoop.

Source: Sunset's 1999 Recipe Annual

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