Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
Prepare an ice bath, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt on high speed until pale yellow and very thick. Set aside.
Scrape the vanilla seeds into a small saucepan, and add bean, milk, and cream. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
On low speed, gradually pour half the hot milk mixture into yolk mixture, then pour yolk mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and hold a line drawn by your finger, about 5 minutes. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Place bowl in prepared ice bath, stirring occasionally, until chilled. Use immediately, or refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days. Gently whisk before using.