Old-fashion Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Serves 1 ½ quarts

2-1/2 cups  half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
3/4 cup  sugar
1 4 to 6 inch  vanilla bean
1-1/4 cups  whipping cream

In a large saucepan heat and stir half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla bean (if using) just to a simmer. Remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean; let cool. Using a paring knife, slit vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Stir seeds (or vanilla extract, if using) and whipping cream into milk mixture. Cover; chill about 4 hours.
Freeze mixture in ice-cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. Ripen 4 hours. Makes 1-1/2 quarts (twelve, 1/2-cup servings).