Scald the milk with the vanilla pod, and pour it over the egg yolks, beaten first with the sugar. Beat the mixture continuously, strain it into a bowl set over, but not touching, simmering water. Add the cream, and stir until the custard thickens.
Rinse the vanilla pod, split it, and stir the seeds into the custard. Once cool, freeze the custard in an ice-cream maker, sorbetière, or the ice-making compartment of the freezer. If the latter method, you will need to stir it from time to time to ensure a smooth mixture.
Before entirely frozen, additions can be stirred in such as rum-soaked raisins, toasted flaked almonds, crushed crystallized roses, chopped crystallized fruit, or a measure or two of strong espresso.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.