Homemade ice cream is an inexpensive luxury, and an easy one. In this recipe, we use lots of fresh cream, not milk, which makes a dense and satisfying mixture. The key to great flavor is using whole vanilla beans. If you are lucky enough to be choosing among vanilla beans from around the world, here's a quick flavor guide: Mexican beans are creamy, with spicy overtones. Madagascar beans are even more creamy, but Indonesian ones have a sweet, woody flavor. Tahitian vanilla is very fruity, with an strong flavor of ripe cherries. Most extracts are made by blending the four into the basic vanilla flavor we recognize; whole beans have more individuality.
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