2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk (separated into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
2 vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup white, granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks and half of the sugar. You can beat by hand using a whisk or using a hand mixer or egg beater. Beat until thoroughly smooth and creamy. (A couple of minutes by hand.)
2 Put cream, 1 cup of the milk, the remaining half of the sugar, and the salt into a saucepan on medium heat. Use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape out the tiny seeds from the vanilla beans, and stir them into the milk cream mixture. Heat until steamy, but not simmering. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand while the vanilla infuses.
3 Fill a large bowl half way with ice and cold water (bowl should be large enough for another bowl to easily fit inside of it). Set aside.
4 Temper the eggs—vigorously whisk the eggs while you slowly dribble half of the cream mixture into it. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining cream and milk.
5 Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon. (You can run your finger in a line over the back of the coated spoon. If the mixture doesn't run, but stays in place on the spoon, it should be thick enough.) Remove from heat and mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to stop the mixture from overcooking.
6 Set a stainless steal bowl over the ice water bath that you've prepared. Place a mesh strainer over the top bowl and pour the custard through it.
Let the custard cool completely, stirring to help chill it quickly. Put into the refrigerator and let chill for at least an hour, preferably several hours.
7 Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. (Take care not to over churn the ice cream or it will get a grainy texture.) If you serve the ice cream immediately, it will have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Freeze it for at least an hour in an airtight plastic container to have a firmer texture. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before serving it.
Serve with caramel sauce.