Ice cream and summer are one of those perfect pairs that just make sense—they go together like bacon and eggs, peanut butter and jelly…we could go on. With its countless variations, this sweet treat is a sure-fire way to beat the heat. This simple recipe for vanilla ice cream perfects a classic, tried-and-true flavor that’s sure to satisfy a crowd—if you feel like sharing, that is. All you need is a handful of basic ingredients—but you do need an ice cream maker. (If you don’t have one, this recipe is as good a reason as ever to get one.)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
Place a medium bowl inside a large bowl. Add water and ice to larger bowl, about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Set a strainer over medium bowl.
In a medium high-sided pot, heat milk, heavy cream, all but 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla extract over medium-high heat. Allow mixture to come to a simmer, about 6 minutes.
While milk mixture simmers, separate eggs, reserving yolks and saving whites for use in another recipe (or discard). In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining sugar. Once small bubbles form on the surface of the milk, remove from heat. Slowly pour warm milk mixure into bowl with egg yolks, whisking continuously.
Pour egg and milk mixture back into pot from milk and cook over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously in a figure 8 pattern to reach all sides of pot, until thickened and ice cream base coats the back of the spoon. Immediately remove from heat.