Freeze the work bowl of an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan set over medium-high heat, and bring it just to a boil. Add the vanilla, remove from the heat, and let sit in the saucepan at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In another saucepan, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, and xanthan gum until light and airy. Stir the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture.
Heat the yolk/milk mixture (custard) over low heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until it thickens somewhat; it'll be approaching the thickness of heavy cream and will register between 170°F and 180°F on a digital thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
If you prefer soft, creamy (soft-serve) ice cream, serve immediately. For a firmer consistency, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for about 2 hours.
Tips from our Bakers
- To keep ice cream from becoming rock-hard in the freezer, stir in 2 tablespoons rum, vodka, brandy, or the spirit of your choice, just before removing from the ice cream maker. Alcohol will keep the ice cream from freezing too solidly.
- For a sweeter, more American-style ice cream, increase the sugar to 2/3 cup.
- For fun twists on this fabulous ice cream base, mix in any of the following inclusions once your ice cream is frozen: 1 prepared batch of our frosted lemon cookie mix (unfrosted cookies chopped into 1/2" to 3/4" chunks and mixed in separately from the frosting); 1/2 prepared batch of our fabulous fudge brownie mix (prepared with or without nuts and cut into 1/2" to 3/4" chunks) along with 3/4 cup (7 1/2 ounces) caramel sauce; or 1 cup each of milk chocolate chunks and large coconut flakes .
While egg yolks give this ice cream its golden color and extra richness, they also add a very slight eggy taste that may not be to everyone's liking. For vanilla ice cream without eggs, see our recipe for Sweet Milk Ice Cream.
Bake it better! Watch King Arthur baker/blogger Kye Ameden demonstrate one of the techniques from this recipe: How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Machine