This is a recipe vital to the production of many French deserts. It is a sweet vanilla custard of sorts. It can be used as a sauce on desserts, as an wonderful ice cream base (add ingredients to the base and pour into an ice cream maker), or use your imagination.
4 cups whole milk
2 split vanilla beans (or 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
2 cassia sticks (or one cinnamon stick)
12 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Note: Have a large bowl of ice water at the ready
Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla and cassia (or cinnamon). And bring to a low simmer. While you are waiting for your milk to simmer, in a bowl whisk together your egg yolks and sugar.
When the milk reaches a simmer whisk 1/2 to 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. After this has been accomplished transfer this yolk-sugar-milk mixture into the pan of hot milk. Stir continuously until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Immediately strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl and place this bowl in the ice bath. Whisk until the mixture has cooled.