Put the milk and cream in a saucepan.
Slit the vanilla pod down its length with
a small, sharp knife and scoop out as
many of the tiny black seeds as you can
into the milk mixture. Add the pod to
the pan, too. Heat the whole lot over a
low heat, stirring occasionally, until it
almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at
the edge. Take off the heat and set aside
for 30 mins so that the vanilla can infuse.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in
a bowl. Gradually pour the milk over the
egg mixture, whisking continuously
until combined. Pour everything back into
the cleaned pan, return to a low heat and
cook for 8-10 mins, stirring all the time
with a wooden spoon, until the custard
is thick enough to coat the back of the
spoon. Make sure it doesn’t boil or
you will end up with scrambled eggs.
Pour the custard through a fine sieve
into a bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl,
one-third full of ice and water, to cool it
down – keep stirring every now and then
to stop a skin forming. Chill to make sure
it is completely cold, putting cling film
directly on the surface of the custard
to prevent a skin from forming.
Pour the custard into an ice-cream
machine. Churn following manufacturers’
instructions until frozen, then spoon into
a metal or plastic freezer-proof container.
Cover and freeze until solid. If you don’t
have an ice-cream machine, pour the
custard into the container and freeze.
Every 2-3 hrs, take the mixture out of the
freezer and give it a stir. Once it is softly
set, beat it well with electric beaters,
then freeze solid. It will keep in the
freezer for 3 months. Remove from
the freezer 15 mins before serving to
allow it to get soft enough to scoop.