Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown. We use the Cuisinart 2–quart Ice Cream maker
3 cups half and half
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons peach or apricot preserves (optional)
1 – 2 whole vanilla beans, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (we use Nielsen Massey)
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and place over low heat. Stir occasionally, until mixture is warm throughout about 165- 170 degrees. Do NOT boil! Remove from heat when you see the first bubble, and cool slightly.
Remove vanilla beans; split and scrape and place back into mixture. Cover; refrigerate 8-12 hours.
Pour into a 2-quart ice cream freezer (We use Cuisinart CIM-60 Ice Cream Maker - 2 Qt) and freeze according to unit's instructions. (We freeze about 30-35 minutes) The consistency of the mixture will be soft like custard. Spoon the mixture into an airtight lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1-2 hours before serving.