This lovely recipe can be found in "Martha Stewart's Cooking School."
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 large egg yolks
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, salt, and half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) over medium-high heat. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then add pod. Heat over medium just until mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, about 2 minutes (do not let boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand 30 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons).
Use ladle to pour a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add another ladle of milk mixture, and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture into remaining cream mixture in the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl (to remove the vanilla pod and any cooked bits of egg) in an ice-water bath. Let stand until cold, stirring occasionally.